Manhattan prosecutors announced charges Tuesday against four people who they said targeted intoxicated clubgoers, stole their credit cards and phones and used them to purchase more than $400,000 worth of luxury goods.
They called themselves the Grinch Boys, prosecutors said — and referred to their activities as “grinching.”
Two people whom prosecutors identified as members of the group, Julian Pomales, 33, known as Juju, and Blerina Prelvukaj, 30, known as Winter, have been charged with various counts of grand larceny, conspiracy and identity theft, among other crimes. Both pleaded not guilty.
In court, prosecutors accused them and two others who have not been arrested — Promise Shippy, 20, and Malcolm Scott, 32 — of working together to identify and isolate victims in bars and clubs from October 2022 to August 2023. The defendants encouraged those they targeted to become more intoxicated and in some cases persuaded them to leave the nightlife establishments, prosecutors said.
After stealing the victims’ credit cards and phones, prosecutors said, the ring made early-morning trips to Apple stores and expensive retailers like Amiri, Loewe and Christian Dior, many of them in the SoHo shopping district.
Joseph Pepe, a prosecutor, told the courtroom that the group called itself the Grinch Boys or “grinchsters,” and noted that Mr. Pomales had purchased a large pendant necklace bearing the likeness of the Dr. Seuss character wearing his familiar Santa hat and had posted a photo of it on social media.
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