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ORC 2-9-16




Five Arrested in $1M+ Florida Cargo Theft Ring
Attorney General Pam Bondi today announced the arrests of five Miami-Dade County residents in connection to an organized cargo theft ring. The arrests are the result of an investigation by Attorney General Bondi's Office of Statewide Prosecution, with the assistance of the Miami-Dade Police Department, Miami Metropolitan Major Theft Task Force and the Florida Highway Patrol Commercial Vehicle and Cargo Theft Task Force.

According to the investigation, the defendants typically traveled from Miami-Dade County in a rental vehicle to search for tractor trailers they could easily steal. Once the defendants stole both the cargo and trailers, they returned to Miami to sell the stolen property on the black market.

The five members of this theft ring face charges related to seven different cargo theft incidents in Broward, Duval, Hillsborough, Orange, Palm Beach and Polk Counties. The estimated loss of stolen property amounts to more than a million dollars.

● Juan Carlos Almaguer, 42;
● Alcide Frahuela Casanova, 56;
● Cecilio Guillen, 45;
● Yanier Torres, 30; and
● Julio Vega, 53.

Each defendant faces charges including, but not limited to, conspiracy to commit racketeering and multiple counts of grand theft cargo $50,000 or more, both first-degree felonies. If convicted, the defendants each face up to 30 years in prison per count of conspiracy to commit racketeering and grand theft cargo $50,000 or more. Attorney General Bondi's Office of Statewide Prosecution will prosecute the defendants.

Suspects face Bergen County charges in ID theft ring
Five residents of the Bronx, N.Y., have been charged in connection with allegations that they are part of a ring that stole identities of people to purchase thousands of dollars of iPhones in Bergen County and other locations, authorities said in a news release Monday. Three of the accused were arrested and charged on Friday following an investigation that began in November with an arrest in Closter, and two others remain at large, Bergen Co. Pros. Grewal said. Aimee Gonzalez had been arrested in Closter last year after she attempted to purchase iPhones at a Verizon Wireless store, Grewal said. He said that authorities had determined she was a member of "an organized identity theft ring" that used "numerous stolen identities" to purchase tens of thousands of dollars worth of iPhones in New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania and Virginia.

Louisville, KY couple sold $100,000 of stolen gift cards
Police say a husband and wife sold more than $100,000 in stolen gift cards to three pawn shops. LMPD officials tell us there's a ring of people linked to the scheme that involved stealing merchandise from local retailers. Derek and Esperanza Sines were arraigned Monday morning on charges of theft and engaging in organized crime. From November of 2013 up until last month, police say the pair stole merchandise from local businesses like Walmart, Target, and Meijer, then returned the merchandise for gift cards. They then sold those gift cards to pawn shops for less than their face value in exchange for cash. The stolen gift cards were sold at two Easy Cash stores and J&M Pawn. Police say the Sines sold more than 660 gift cards. Police say the pair didn't act alone. They believe at least seven other people are in on the scheme.

Council Bluffs, IA: One of two women accused of stealing thousands from Walmart pleads guilty
On Monday afternoon, Keisha Kephart, 24, pleaded guilty to felony theft and received two years of formal probation, but, as part of her plea agreement, she has to help the State of Iowa convict her alleged co-conspirator. Kephart was arrested on Dec. 7 at Walmart after stealing between $2,000 and $4,000 in merchandise while working as a cashier at the store. On Jan. 19, Jeri Atilano, 30, of Council Bluffs, was arrested and charged with second-degree felony theft, conspiracy to commit a non-forcible felony, as well as ongoing criminal conduct.

Lake City, FL: Suspect in multi-county Walmart thefts arrested in Lake City
Lake City police said they arrested a man suspected of stealing merchandise from Walmarts in two counties. Kenneth Platt, 50, was arrested at a Starbucks off U.S. 90 over the weekend. Walmart associates said last November, they discovered several laptops missing from the display area. After reviewing surveillance video, they saw a man tampering with security devices on the laptops. Walmart employees told LCPD this occurred four different times. The stolen merchandise was valued at $1,746. Platt had three active warrants for thefts in Columbia, Baker and Suwannee Counties.

Epping, NH: Police say Legos are a target for thieves
Epping Police Capt. Jason Newman said, "Lego thefts are on the rise due to their popularity, cost and pawn value." Epping Police recently charged a Manchester man after he allegedly tried to steal $890 worth of Legos from the Epping Wal-Mart last month. Justin Laforge, 29, is charged with attempt to commit theft and driving after revocation. New Hampshire is the latest state to see thieves targeting the toy loot.

LaSalle, ON, CN: Four suspects hit Shoppers Drug Mart targeting Baby Formula
Local police are wondering if they're battling a black market for baby formula after a four-woman shoplifting team made off with $1,000 worth of the product from a LaSalle drug store Saturday. LaSalle police Monday released surveillance camera images of four women who made two trips each into the Shoppers Drug Mart between 8 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. Each of the women carried a reusable cloth shopping bag into the store and filled it with large cans of powdered formula. The women left the store without paying, then returned to shoplift more of the same item. The store's manager reported more than 20 cans missing.

ORC 2-9-16
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