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ORC 3-8-16




Jefferson Co, AL: Operation Molten Iron targets Organized Retail Theft
The Jefferson County D.A.'s office says it's spent several weeks working with Vestavia Hills and Birmingham police to investigate a retail crime ring. During the operation, about $55,000 worth of merchandise was stolen from stores. To combat the theft ring, law enforcement worked with organized retail crime investigators from CVS, Home Depot, Publix, Target, Walgreen's and Wal-Mart. The retailers donated merchandise and personnel in order to support the operation. The efforts resulted in three arrests- and the D.A. says more are on the way. Law enforcement officers also recovered hundreds of thousands of dollars in vehicles and store merchandise. They also found 15 pounds of marijuana in one location.

Operation Molten Iron - Alabama Law Enforcement calls for stronger ORC Laws
At this time, law enforcement has limited tools to combat Organized Retail Crime. One subject investigated during Operation Molten Iron cannot be charged under Alabama's current criminal laws, but could be charged if Alabama had the same organized crime laws that exist in other states. Fortunately, there is legislation pending in Montgomery to enact a Racketeering Influenced Corrupt Organization (RICO) law to fight ORC as well as other organized crime. That legislation, SB234, gives law enforcement the ability to dismantle the organizational structure of the criminal enterprises operating in Alabama. We encourage everyone who is concerned about organized crime in Alabama to contact their local legislator and request passage of the RICO bill in order to give law enforcement the necessary tools to fight organized crime.

UPDATE: Centralia, WA: Tacoma Woman Pleads Guilty in Retail Theft Operation at Centralia Factory Outlets
A Tacoma woman accused of orchestrating an organized retail theft operation using three juveniles to steal items from stores in the Centralia Factory Outlets has pleaded guilty. Rosemary Valderas Valencia, 44, of Tacoma, pleaded guilty Friday to three counts of second-degree organized retail theft. Her sentencing is scheduled for 1 p.m. March 23. On Oct. 9, the Centralia Police Department responded to the outlets after hearing reports of juveniles stealing stacks of clothing and running out the door. Officers contacted the juveniles and arrested them. Witnesses associated the juveniles with a dark green Chevrolet Tahoe in the parking lot, registered to Valencia, according to court documents. Officers search the car and found merchandise from stores including Aeropostale, Hanes Outlet, Claire's, Nike, Under Armour, New Balance and The Children's Place. Valencia has a LONG list of priors both in Oregon and Washington, including an Organized Retail theft charge in 2011.

Trenton, NJ: Booster bag abetted Barnes & Noble thefts, N.J. man admits
It's not uncommon to see book lovers with tote bags stroll the aisles of Barnes & Noble booksellers to load up on their favorite authors. Dominick J. Izzo liked to collect a pile of new books as well, but for years, the Piscataway man walked out without paying for them. Izzo, 49, Monday admitted before U.S. District Judge Freda L. Wolfson that he made hundreds of thousands of dollars stealing books from the nation's largest bookseller by stuffing them in a "booster bag" designed to evade anti-theft alarms. The bag was lined with aluminum, court records say, which kept scanners from reading the anti-theft devices in the books. Izzo admitted to stealing from Barnes & Noble stores in New Jersey, Florida and elsewhere and then selling the books on eBay using several aliases. Court records say he stole books from 2007 through 2014. In entering his guilty plea, Izzo admitted to one count of transportation of stolen goods and one count of tax evasion.

Trumbull Co, OH: Man gets 1 year for $10,000 Wal-Mart thefts
A Milwaukee man was sentenced Monday to one year in prison for the theft of more than $10,000 in merchandise last summer from several Wal-Mart stores. Trumbull County Common Pleas Judge Peter Kontos noted Frank Covington's crimes in other states before his theft arrest July 17 at the Liberty Wal-Mart. "Looking at your record, it is evident that probation hasn't done you any good," Kontos told Covington before pronouncing sentence.

Mission, TX: Home Depot $1,000 theft suspects arrested following Police chase
Two people were arrested Sunday, hours after evading authorities in a car chase and making off with about $1,000 worth of merchandise from a Mission Home Depot, according to Texas Department of Public Safety Sgt. Johnny Hernandez. The suspects led Mission Police Department units on a high-speed pursuit, until authorities called it off for safety reasons. DPS officers arrested the pair of suspects near Mile 4 Road and Inspiration Road later that day after finding the suspected vehicle outside an area residence.

Montgomery Co, PA: Man heading to State Prison for stealing $1,100 in timepieces from Macy's at Willow Grove Park Mall

ORC 3-8-16
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