Two Indian students arrested for ‘shoplifting’ in New Jersey, US - Hindustan Times
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Two Indian students arrested for ‘shoplifting’ in New Jersey, US

Apr 18, 2024 09:30 PM IST

One Hoboken police officer indicates that this arrest may harm their H1b visa process.

Two Indian students—one from Hyderabad, Telangana, and the other from Guntur, Andhra Pradesh have been arrested for an alleged shoplifting case at a New Jersey, US grocery store last month.

Picture shows Hoboken police cuffed one of the alleged 'shoplifters'
Picture shows Hoboken police cuffed one of the alleged 'shoplifters'

Who are the two Indian students?

These two Telegu students, Bhavya Linganagunta (20) and Yamini Valkalpudi (22), had relocated to New Jersey to pursue higher education at the Stevens Institute of Technology. But Hoboken city police apprehended them on March 19 for allegedly failing to pay for certain items they had picked up at Hoboken ShopRite.

The duo reportedly paid for two items but attempted to exit the store with an additional 27 items, totalling $USD 155.61.

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After being arrested by the police the duo said they are willing to pay the “full amount.” One of them even offered to pay double. Others apologized to the police and said they would not repeat this offence if they let them go.

When questioned about their actions, one student cited a “limited balance” in her account; the other woman claimed she had simply forgotten to pay for some items.

However, the Hoboken police clarified to them that their actions committed a crime, and they had to arrest them. Police also claimed that they are repeat offenders.

Cop indicates this arrest may affect their job and H1b visa process

As they were being transported to the police station to undergo booking, one of the women asked, “Will this affect us for the H-1B process or job?”

“Yes! If they run your information, it’s going to show that you were arrested,” one officer replied.

As part of the resolution, the Hyderabad-origin student and her friend were asked to provide written confirmation that they would refrain from revisiting the shop in the US.

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This incident brings to mind a similar case from 2015 when two Indian women stole 155 razors worth $ 4,500 from a Walmart store in Tennessee. The store’s CCTV camera captured the scene when the woman, accompanied by a six or seven-year-old child, surreptitiously pocketed the razors from the personal grooming section. And then quickly escaped the scene in a minivan.

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