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ORC 4-3-12



2012 Archives

Austin police bust the largest fencing operation in Texas - with 8 people involved - they busted one female selling tens of thousands of dollars in shoplifted laundry detergent, batteries, shampoo, and other cosmetic items at flea markets and from her southeast Austin home and in Mexico. Maria Villegas, 40, has been charged with organized retail theft, a state jail felony. Travis County Jail records indicate that she is no longer in custody. Police say Villegas and her husband, 48-year-old Nicholas Villegas, were selling massive quantities of stolen items for profit. Police are still searching for Nicholas Villegas and have issued arrest warrants for six other suspected accomplices, officials said. H-E-B and Target were involved in the investigation. Austin police Officer Dustin Smart says stolen goods with an estimated worth topping $50,000 was stolen from Austin-area outlets and $35,000 in goods were found in a home raid. (Source (Source (source

Target's advanced surveillance capabilities helps police in Southington, Ct. tie a one man ORC thief to multiple armed robberies at Cumberland Farms convenience stores. Officers served a warrant on Michael G. Chapman, 33, at Bristol Superior Court last week in connection with both a shoplifting theft at the Target store on Executive Boulevard in February and an armed robbery at the Cumberland Farms convenience store on Queen Street in December 2011. "Surveillance footage of his Jeep Cherokee that was recorded and provided by officials with the Target asset protection department showed the connection to the December armed robbery," Southington Police Sgt. Lowell DePalma said Monday. "With their help, we were able to collect evidence that tied him to both cases, as well as a third armed robbery that took place in Wolcott." (Source

North Attleboro, MA. ORC couple busted stealing merchandise from Ulta Beauty store off Route 1 Saturday after stealing from the same store the Thursday before. Inside his car, police say they found more than $900 worth of clothing allegedly stolen by the pair from four stores at Emerald Square mall in North Attleboro. Jamie Lynn Medeiros, 23, of Fall River, was arraigned Monday in Attleboro District Court, where she was ordered held in jail without bail because she is on probation for a similar crime in which she was given a suspended jail sentence. Medeiros was arrested with an acquaintance, Steven Carvalho, 28, of Fall River. Carvalho, who has previously served jail time for unarmed robbery and larceny, was ordered held in jail on $3,000 cash bail. Follow up may be in order for any ORC team looking at losses in that area. (Source

Identity theft ring leader pleads guilty to 50 felony counts for stealing numerous identities to buy high-end goods he then sold on eBay and Craigslist. Between March 29, 2004, and April 15, 2007, Aragon led a crime ring that included his wife, Clara Aragon, and six co-defendants. One of them, hacker Guy Itzak Shitrit, 28, of Miami would obtain victims’ credit card numbers and used them to encode forged credit cards. Christopher Aragon and his co-defendants used the credit profiles and personal identifying information of victims to make fraudulent California driver’s licenses, credit cards and gift cards, according to the DA. Christopher Aragon hired women to shop for him. They traveled throughout California and to Las Vegas to purchase the goods. Most of the ring has already been sentenced. (Source

Possible ORC connection - Husband and wife couple busted stealing baby formula and Tide from Genuardi's in Wynnewood. PA. (Source

Colorado Deputy DA says ORC rings are using stolen cars to transport stolen items and those stolen cars are popping up at crime scenes. They're also being taken apart and sold for parts. So basically they're connecting auto theft with ORC. As did the author of the book Black Market Billions - How ORC funds Terrorism. (Source

Colorado's full Senate may vote this week on their ORC bill that toughens penalties. (Source

Identity Theft suspect’s death leads to funeral drive-by shooting in Miami. A 21 year old man, believed to be gang connected stole a credit card, used it at the Aventura Mall, and then was chased by security through a parking garage, which lead to him jumping over a railing fatally landing 25 feet below. A rival gang is believed to be responsible for shooting 14 people outside the South Florida funeral home. (source

Excerpts from GAO-11-675:  Efforts to Combat Organized Retail Crime

The U.S. Government Accountability Office ORC report June 2011

Leading Online Marketplaces Have Taken Steps to Combat e-Fencing, but It Is Unclear If Additional Federal Action Is Warranted

eBay, the Largest Online Marketplace, Has Recently Taken Steps to Deter e-Fencing, but Varying Business Models and Available Resources Impact Efforts of Other Online Marketplaces

Recently eBay, the largest online marketplace, has begun a series of efforts designed to prevent the sale of stolen merchandise on its site. The site maintains a “prohibited items” list designed to prevent the sale of items subject to federal regulations—including firearms, alcohol, and tobacco products—and other items unlicensed for sale, including stolen property. However, eBay’s recent efforts have been designed to make it more responsive to requests for information from both retailers and law enforcement, both of which usually need seller information from eBay to link stolen merchandise to specific people. Prior to its recent efforts, eBay provided seller information to retailers and law enforcement when it was legally required to do so through a subpoena, or other appropriate legal process. In early 2008, eBay began to change its approach to the issue of ORC, recently developing a series of initiatives designed to more easily provide information to retailers and law enforcement alike.

For retailers, eBay developed the PROACT program, providing a way for retailers to quickly submit and receive information on eBay sellers they suspect of selling stolen merchandise. The program currently has 300 members. All retailers can submit a request for information on a seller to eBay, and as of January 2011, eBay had received 2,340 requests for information. eBay’s PROACT investigators can provide information requested, such as name, address, and seller history. eBay PROACT investigators may also help retailers with their investigations by providing them with an undercover account, which may be used to purchase merchandise they suspect is stolen to help build a case, linking confirmed fraudulent sellers—”bad actors,” in eBay terms—to other users or accounts, and taking action on user accounts, such as suspending them or pursuing criminal action against them in concert with retailers and law enforcement.

eBay also provides retailers with:

• eStop: On every product page, eBay has placed a "Report Item" link, providing a mechanism to report a listing violation, including stolen property. eBay has indicated eStop has been used three times since it was implemented in early 2010. However, eStop requires retailers who want a listing removed to affirm that the specific listing is stolen. Often, they cannot make this affirmation without additional information about the seller from eBay, which is one of the reasons why eBay believes the tool has been used infrequently.

• Exception reporting: For PROACT member retailers, eBay is to create customized “exception reporting” for those who request it. eBay will work with these retailers to build reports on products frequently stolen from their stores. As of May 2011, eBay has created these reports for nine retailers. The reports provide retailers with information showing the top suspicious sellers of high-risk items based on quantities, price points, and high-theft areas. One retailer we interviewed uses these reports to identify sellers that warrant additional investigation—internally and within eBay—to determine if the products that are being sold have been stolen from their stores.

Continued tomorrow

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