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
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.
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