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ORC 7-22-11





2011 Archives

Seattle's "Operation Super Booster" – A City Wide Approach to Organized Retail Crime

Over the next few Daily's, we're going to report on this new approach to ORC which began last April and has had a lot of success.  Today, we're presenting their actual business plan:

Past Practice

Historically, the Seattle Police Department has focused on Organized Retail Crime (ORC) one target at a time. This is primarily due to manpower constraints. Precinct Burglary Units have case loads that demand that the majority of their time is devoted to case preparation. Even when they do have the time, they are not set up for proactive undercover operations. The Pawn Shop Unit's case load is similar. When time allows, the unit may conduct an ORC sting operation – typically no more than a couple per year. The Major Crime Task Force has conducted few ORC operations, but has conflicting case priorities.

For years, the Pawn Shop Unit has had on its radar multiple ORC target locations that warranted a targeted investigation and the number of locations continued to grow. The problem seemed a truly uphill battle, until in early April 2011, both West and North Anti Crime Teams (ACT) requested assistance from Pawn Shop Det. Kaffer. These Anti Crime Teams were aware of 4 new ORC operations in their areas. West and North (ACT) have developed intelligence on targets they would like to initiate investigation. However, they do not have the experience or expertise in conducting these types of cases. The Pawn Shop Unit currently has 2 detectives covering all of the city's pawn shops and used goods dealers. The practicality of heading up even 1 more location was improbable.

New Concept

The Pawn Shop Unit designed a new concept in combating Organized Retail Crime in Seattle. For the first time, the Pawn Shop Unit is partnering with pro-acts units from each of the 5 Seattle precincts to attack the growing number of Organized Retail Theft operations at the same time. These teams include Anti Crime Teams from the North, South, Southwest, West Precincts, and the East Precinct 2nd Watch Bike Unit. This large scale operations is called "Operation Super Boosters." The Pawn Shop Unit will have the responsibility for coordinating the overall investigations, ensuring the case file preparation meets the filing standards of the King County Prosecutor's Office. The Anti Crime Teams and Bike Unit will be conducting the actual undercover operations, follow up paper work, and any search warrants that are served at the conclusion of the investigations.

Command Staff

This operations was broached early on to the chief's office, and they have enthusiastically given their support to the operational concept. The response from each precinct has been impressive. All 5 Teams are ready and motivated to aggressively pursue a criminal investigation into their target locations.

The King Co. Prosecutor's Office has already met with Case Managers and the Pawn Shop Unit, and they are also very supportive of the operation.


We intend to complete the 5 operations simultaneously so as to maximize our positive media exposure. The Success of Operation Super Boosters will have a deterrent effect throughout the greater Metropolitan Seattle area. Businesses engaging in similar activities will be more hesitant to continue to purchase stolen merchandise from boosters in the future. They will know that they are subject to criminal and civil sanctions that will make the seemingly profitable transactions less attractive.


At the conclusion of Operation Super Boosters we plan on immediately moving onto 5 new targets. We will be able to smoothly transition into the new operation by using the same 5 teams; they will then have the experience in ORC as well as the motivation. Our ultimate goal is to make ORC investigations an integral part of each individual precinct's crime prevention strategy.

Retail Involvement

Our Current targets are fencing items which are taken from grocery stores, electronic stores and home improvement stores from all over the Seattle area. The Seattle Police Department recognizes the importance of establishing a strong partnership with local retailers to make this operation a success. The Seattle Police Department will supply extensive manpower coordinating and executing this operation while referring to your expertise and utilizing your product for the sting operations. In doing so we are confident we can make a significant impact in the ORC problem in the Seattle Area benefitting both you and the City of Seattle.

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