“El Mustachio the Magician" Suspect Sought in Santa Cruz Costco Thefts

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    Santa Cruz police are offering a commemorative glass with a painted mustache on it for information leading to the arrest of a whiskered shoplifter dubbed "El Mustachio the Magician."

    Santa Cruz police are offering a commemorative glass with a painted mustache on it for information leading to the arrest of a whiskered shoplifting suspect dubbed "El Mustachio the Magician," the department announced Tuesday.

    The suspect is a man who has entered a Costco warehouse store at 220 Sylvania Ave. in Santa Cruz, where he has stolen electronics three times since July and made a fourth attempt last Tuesday before running away, according to the Police Department's blog.

    After the first theft July 7, "El Mustachio" tried to disguise himself by wearing different clothing and adding color to his hair, but police recognized him in videos from his mustache and Ugg-style boots, according to officers.

    On July 7 at about 2 p.m., the mustachioed suspect, described as a man between 30 and 40 years old, entered the Costco store wearing a jacket, shorts, Ugg boots and a dark ball cap, officers said.

    He is seen on surveillance video taking Bose SoundLink speakers off a shelf and walking outside of the view of the store video camera, at which point police say he took the speakers out of the box and slipped them under his shirt and jacket before leaving the store.

    Police asked the public on the department's blog to help identify him after the first shoplifting case and invited people to send in nicknames for him.

    The department selected "El Mustachio the Magician" as the winner due to his facial hair and the way police said he made the speakers disappear into his clothing.

    On July 17, the suspect was in the store again wearing his mustache and this time long pants, athletic shoes and no hat. He shoplifted a laptop after tucking it under his shirt, police reported.

    The man appeared in an Aug. 21 video clean-shaven, in shorts and with a light tint added to his hair, wearing the same Ugg boots and making off with another laptop underneath a dark T-shirt, police said.

    Then last Tuesday, police said the suspect returned to Costco and tried to steal an Xbox video game console.

    When an employee made contact with him, the suspect dropped some cables from his pockets to the floor and fled the building, officers said.

    The man was wearing a long-sleeved flannel shirt despite the 85-degree temperature outside, according to police.

    On its blog, www.santacruzpolice.blogspot.com, the Police Department placed photos and video clips showing the "El Mustachio" suspect and a picture of a commemorative beer pint glass with a mustache painted on it as a reward for information resulting in his arrest.

    The department has also offered to have Police Chief Kevin Vogel sign the glass for the recipient.

    Santa Cruz police are asking anyone with information about the suspect to call the Investigations Unit at (831) 420-5820 or the anonymous tip line at (831) 420-5995.

    Those with information to report may also go to the department's website at www.santacruzpolice.com for instructions on how to submit tips by text message or by using the department's smartphone app.