Police break up theft ring involving items stolen from Wal-Marts and sold on eBay

Associated Press

A retail theft ring that involved hundreds of items stolen from four Wal-Marts and sold on eBay has been broken up, state police said Friday.

Homes that were searched in Bangor, Bucksport and Frankfort yielded $240,000 in cash and stolen items including Legos, Crest white strips, archery equipment and a 46-inch television on Thursday, said Steve McCausland, spokesman for the Maine Department of Public Safety.

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An investigation involving the Computer Crimes Unit pointed to a man in Bucksport who was buying and selling merchandise and a woman in Frankfurt, where a home was used for storage of cash and stolen goods.

No one has been charged with the thefts. But Jane Tardiff, of Frankfort, was arrested because she brandished a handgun when officers arrived to serve a search warrant, police said. She was charged with criminal threatening with a dangerous weapon before being released from the Waldo County Jail.

Tardiff, who said she never stole anything, said she grabbed a gun because she feared for her life after a recent incident in Winterport in which men posing as police officers robbed someone. She said the officers, who were wearing street clothes instead of uniforms, tried to knock her door down.

"If that officer had knocked on my door like a man should, I would've let him in," she said. "They ought to have a different procedure instead of pounding on the door and scaring me to death."

Tardiff said officers seized a few boxes of Legos, which she said belonged to someone else. Police said $100,000 in cash, along with bars of silver, also were seized.

The Wal-Marts that were targeted were in Palmyra, Bangor, Brewer and Ellsworth. Wal-Mart investigators assisted state police, along with police in Bangor and Bucksport, and other agencies.