County's 'Operation Free Ride'
Organized Retail Crime Investigation Results in 36 Arrests From
Wednesday, July 8th through Saturday, July 11th, the PCSO Organized Retail
Crimes Unit and partnering entities conducted a countywide operation focusing on
those who shoplift from Polk County retail stores, and made 36 arrests.
"All of these suspects earned a 'free ride' to the county jail after attempting
to steal merchandise. Our Organized Retail Crime task force works with area
retailers and other law enforcement agencies to apprehend those who refuse to
comply with the law. We are sending out this warning to everyone: if you
shoplift in Polk County, you will go to jail." - Sheriff Grady Judd
The participating businesses involved in this investigation from Auburndale,
Lakeland, Winter Haven, Lake Wales, and Haines City, were: · Bealls ·
Bealls Outlet · Home Depot · Lowes · Macy's · Target · TJ Maxx · Walmart
Detectives worked with loss prevention personnel at each store, focusing on
identifying suspects who were trying to conceal items on their person and leave
the stores without paying, and who were scanning items not being purchased in
order to pay less for the items. Some of the suspects were consuming food in the
stores, without paying for it.
Of the 36 arrests, 30 were for Retail Theft, and 6 were for other crimes
discovered during the investigation. Of the 36 arrests, 4 of those arrested were
juveniles - 3 for shoplifting, and one for marijuana possession. PCSO filed a
total of 46 misdemeanor charges and 10 felony charges against the 36 suspects.
The total value of items stolen by these suspects is $691.00.
29 of the suspects have criminal histories, and 13 of the suspects told
detectives they are receiving government assistance. Those with criminal
histories have a combined total of 110 previous misdemeanor and 102 previous
During the operation, PCSO simultaneously hosted the second annual Organized
Retail Crime Training, with 40 hours of instruction for law enforcement officers
from across the country. The students were able to observe firsthand how to
investigate retail theft and how to facilitate partnerships with retail loss
prevention investigators to help prevent and solve crimes.
Operation: $30,000 + in Stolen goods Seized from EZ Money Pawn Shop in St
Augustine, FL A two-day search of the EZ Money Pawn Shop in St.
Augustine turned up more than $30,000 in stolen merchandise, the St. Johns
County Sheriff's Office reports. Detectives say more than 200 items of new
merchandise that had been stolen from retail stores were brought to the pawn
shop, where individuals were paid cash. Among the items seized were flat screen
tv's, power tools, and air conditioners. Detectives will now try to determine
where the specific items were stolen from. Police say charges are pending on the
case. St. Augustine Police, the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office, the Internal
Revenue Service, and Loss Prevention from Target and Home Depot were all part of
2 Charged with theft of over $75K in merchandise from Bed Bath & Beyond
Secaucus, NJ A pair of Passaic County men have been charged with
stealing more than $75,000 in merchandise from Bed Bath & Beyond in Secaucus in
an alleged scheme that apparently involved the U.S. Postal Service and eBay.
Guillermo Ordonez, 41, of Paterson, and Charles Robles, 35, of Prospect Park,
made their first court appearance on the charges yesterday in Central Judicial
Processing court in Jersey City. Both men are charged with theft in a quantity
of over $75,000 and receiving stolen property, the criminal complaints states,
adding that Ordonez is also charged with conspiring with a woman to commit
theft. The complaints do not provide details on the alleged scheme but probable
cause for the charges is listed as "information from the Newark Postal
Inspection Service, the Bed Bath & Beyond loss prevention officer and various
records from eBay."