Two theft suspects recently profiled on television's "America's Most Wanted" were nabbed in Salt Lake Monday by a cagey police officer who recognized the couple from the popular true-crime program.

Salt Lake County sheriff's Detective Keith Stephens arrested Starla Dawn Ownbey and her brother-in-law, Jimmy Thornton, after watching them attempt to exchange items at two area department stores.The pair are accused of shoplifting more than $1 million worth of merchandise from shops across the country.

Stephens said he became suspicious when Ownbey, 27, unsuccessfully tried to return two Norelco shavers without a receipt and no local identification at a Murray Kmart (4670 S. 900 East). The detective, who doubles as a store security adviser, followed the woman outside and noticed she was accompanied by a man he recognized as Thornton, 44, from a November episode of Fox's "America's Most Wanted."

"Their physical characteristics, their mode of operation and the area of the country all added up to them," he said.

To be certain, Stephens jumped in his car and followed the two to South Towne Mall in Sandy, where the pair returned items at a J.C. Penney. In the meantime, the detective checked the vehicle's registration and verified his hunch. Moments after Thornton and Ownbey continued on the road, Stephens pulled the couple over on northbound I-15 at 800 North. After investigating the contents of the car - which included razors, fishing reels and trading cards - he arrested the pair for investigation of possession of stolen property and improper registration.

Thornton and Ownbey were later charged with additional counts, including racketeering and engaging in organized criminal activity.

Authorities said Thornton is also wanted by police agencies in Oklahoma, Arkansas, Missouri, Tennessee, Texas and Louisiana.

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