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ORC 12-11-14




Fencing Operations Busted - Five Retail Stores Raided & Closed - 10 arrested - Selling Stolen Merchandise in Somerset, Ky. - More arrests coming today and totals  Five stores in southern Kentucky were closed Wednesday after police busted an alleged shoplifting scheme in which the stores stocked their shelves with stolen merchandise. At least 10 different people were indicted last week. David Dalton, an assistant prosecutor, said some -- not all -- of the individuals are facing charges of organized retail crime and solicitation to theft. Everyone was charged with organized crime retail, a class C felony. The stores impacted where the Valero on Monticello and Oak Hill, Fast Check, Lake Way Shell, B and G One Stop and the A and R Market. Police and the local prosecutor's office in Somerset told WKYT they think the true victims were Kroger, Walmart and other retailers targeted by the shoplifters. Police say an investigation was launched several months ago after a local shop loss program began looking into shoplifting and other complaints. Police said the shoplifters were selling stolen items to the stores, which would then re-sell them knowing the items were stolen. The indictments were sealed until Wednesday to give police time to make arrests. While police executed search warrants at the five stores and made several arrests, the stores were closed to shoppers. Of special note is that this is connected to an organized crime family.

South Carolina shoplifting crew hitting 15 North Georgia Walmarts  Forsyth County deputies are looking for an out-of-state shoplifting crew accused of targeting Walmart stores in the metro area. The two that we have on video would push the carts through Walmart, and they went shopping and at one point they just walked the carts to the emergency exit and left," said Forsyth County Sheriff's Deputy Doug Rainwater. The scheme worked earlier at a Gainesville Walmart, but when the 3-man crew hit a store in Cumming, loss prevention spotted them and called 911. Forsyth detectives caught up with them and they tossed merchandise from their moving car. But then they bailed leaving $6,000 of merchandise in their vehicle. Deputies say the driver hopped a fence and fell down a ravine, breaking bones on the landing. He's in the hospital. The other two, identified as 26-year old Frankie Hampton and 23-year-old Derrick Davis, are believed to be back in their hometown in South Carolina. "We have identified the other occupants of the car and that's who we're looking for now," Rainwater said. Deputies say they're glad they've slowed if not stopped this shoplifting ring that appears to have been spread all across North Georgia. "We have learned that they had programmed in the GPS system 15 different Walmarts in North Georgia."

2 employees Charged In $45,000 Gift Card Theft From NJ Burlington Coat Factory  Two people suspected of stealing more than $45,000 from Burlington Coat Factory company, located in Edgewater Park, have been taken into custody. Police say Yitsili M. Gautier was employed as a customer service representative and had access the company's computer system. Osvaldo Rivera also worked for the company as a pallet jack operator in the warehouse. Authorities say Gautier and Rivera are suspected of selling more than 150 gift cards, loaded with $250, for just $125 each. Police say Gautier is charged with leader of retail theft enterprise, theft, fraud and computer criminal activity. Officials say Rivera is charged with conspiracy/leader of retail theft enterprise and conspiracy/theft.

ORC couple busted hitting stores across Conn. with fake credit cards  Wallingford Police investigated the incident, and found that Michael Smith Jr., 26, of Queens Village, New York and Cheyenne Sharpe, 24, of Rosedale, New York, had 14 counterfeit American Express gift cards. The gift cards were invalid, though they looked real, and the two allegedly re-encoded the cards with stolen credit card information. In their car, police found thousands of dollars of purchases at department stores across the state.

Female ORC duo busted after hitting Nordstrom's in Natick and TJX in Framingham, Mass for $5k in merchandise  Massachusetts Turnpike conducted a MV stop on Rt. 90 in the town of Westborough. Located in the vehicle was $5000.00 worth of stolen merchandise from Nordstrom's in Natick and TJX in Framingham. Arrested at the scene were Tainichole Kline of Bloomfield, CT and Tamisha Brown of Hartford, CT. The two individuals are believed to be part of a larger Organized Retail Crime group based primarily in Connecticut, operating along the east coast. At the time of the stop the individuals were operating a 2014 white Dodge Charger, rental vehicle with Massachusetts registration. Anyone with information or similar incidents is asked to contact Trooper Christopher MacDonald at 978-451-3776

Washington State Troopers discover nearly $20,000 of stolen goods during I-5 traffic stop  A Washington state trooper got a huge surprise Wednesday when he pulled over a car along I-5. Inside were three people and tens of thousands of dollars in goods stolen all along the I-5 corridor. "It kind of looks like a department store set up in our office here," said Sgt. Keith Leary of the Washington State Patrol. All of the merchandise is now evidence. "As troopers we don't think we're going to be out here counting bras and pants and perfume during the day, so it's kind of a rare find for us," Leary said. Troopers took three people into custody on theft charges after the traffic stop. Sgt. Leary said the trooper noticed a large amount of merchandise in the car and started asking questions. The group from Oakland admitted to driving up and down the I-5 corridor for the past couple of months stopping in malls and stealing nearly $20,000 worth of merchandise. "That's why our prices go up in stores because people are out there doing stuff like this and this is not a small haul," Leary said. "$3,000, over 17 pairs of sunglasses, bras that are over $50 a piece ... 30 pairs of pants." Now troopers hope local retailers will recognize the inventory and the three suspects.

Pinal County Sheriff's Office Arrests AZ Dept of Corrections Employee after Alleged Serial Shoplifting at Wal-Mart in San Tan Valley  Hugo Rivera is alleged to have shoplifted at this Wal-Mart location three separate times within a two week period. In each of the incidents, a male subject pushed a loaded grocery cart full of merchandise out of the store, making no attempt to pay for the items. Additionally, in each instance, the subject had a young female - later determined to be his 4-year-old daughter - with him during the course of the theft. Based on a review of the missing items, the suspect was taking household products, such as linens, detergent, dish soap, wine, beer and small appliances. The approximate value of the merchandise believed to have been removed from the San Tan Valley store totaled nearly $1,100.00 ($1093.35).

West Palm Beach, FL Man attempts to steal 13 tubes of toothpaste, 12 cans of deodorant  As a loss prevention officer watched, a man stuffed 13 packages of toothpaste and 12 cans of deodorant down the front of his shirt and in his pants pockets. He was stopped as he was leaving the store with the $79.09 worth of merchandise. After his arrest, the man was searched. Police found two bags of pot in his left sock. The man was given a notice to appear in court and released.

North Eastern Ohio Credit Card identity theft ring busted; targeting Office Max, Bed Bath and Beyond and The Home Depot  Lieutenant Matt Neil of the Montville Police Department is a lot closer to his latest case of credit card fraud than he typically is when investigating a crime; that's because the first report of a stolen card he received on Monday-was his own. "On Monday I was working and I was notified by my credit card company that my card had been fraudulently used at an Office Max in Wadsworth, Ohio and a Bed, Bath and Beyond," he told Fox 8's Lorrie Taylor. Lt. Neil said he immediately opened an investigation and located surveillance video at the Office Max. He told Taylor two of the four suspects could be seen standing at a register, and according to the Lieutenant, they were using three different credit cards, all loaded with his personal information. Lt. Neil said he immediately put the video on the Montville Police Department's Facebook Page. Five minutes later a local assistant manager from the Lowe's in Macedonia called the Department. "The assistant manager from Lowe's saw the video on Facebook and he recognized those people as being in his store earlier and he thought it was suspicious," said the lieutenant. "They came in together. They checked out at three different cash registers using the same name, of course we didn't know that until later," he said. Information gathered at the store provided a valuable link to an identity under which the group was working, as well as, evidence of what they were up to. The investigation showed the suspects only bought gift cards and only at certain locations, including the Office Max in Macedonia; Bed, Bath and Beyond in Wadsworth; Home Depot in Macedonia; and the Office Max in Fairlawn. The lieutenant told Taylor his big break came on Tuesday when he got a call from the Office Max in Macedonia saying the suspects had just left the store. He called Macedonia police, asked them to stop the suspect's car and an arrest was made within minutes. Lieutenant Neil said dozens of fake credit cards were found inside the automobile which was registered to a New York address. Investigators are not sure of the four suspects identities; they're suspected of using fake IDs. Police are asking the public to check their credit card statements between Thanksgiving weekend and Monday, Dec. 8 for any sign of fraudulent activity.

ORC 12-11-14
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