California crime ring investigation uncovers 15,000 stolen items worth $200,000
Several retailers including CVS, Victoria’s Secret, GAP, Target, Nordstrom and Walgreens were targeted
Two people were arrested in connection with a large retail theft operation in Northern California involving more than $200,000 in stolen merchandise, according to the California Highway Patrol.
California Highway Patrol’s Organized Retail Crime Task Force investigators and the San Francisco Police Department’s Retail Theft Unit conducted three search warrants in the Bay Area, which led to the discovery of the theft operation involving approximately 15,000 stolen items, according to the CHP.
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Several retailers including CVS, Victoria’s Secret, Gap, Target, LensCrafters, TJX, Nordstrom, Walgreens and Safeway had been targeted, according to law enforcement.
A recent arrest led investigators with the California Highway Patrol’s Organized Retail Crime Task Force to conduct a search warrant at a home in Vallejo on Thursday where they "located evidence of a retail theft operation."
Investigators also executed a search warrant at a storage facility in Vallejo, which was connected to the suspect, according to the CHP.
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Meanwhile, the SFPD Retail Theft Unit executed a search warrant at a second storage facility in San Francisco. During their search, "a male connected to the locker arrived."
After questioning the suspect, investigators determined that he had been "involved with organized retail theft crime and was subsequently arrested," the CHP said.
San Francisco Police Department’s Chief of Police Bill Scott argued that these crimes place a hardship on the entire community, not just large retailers.
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"In our city, they’re hurting workers who are losing their jobs and seeing their hours cut," Scott said. "They’re hurting seniors who depend on neighborhood pharmacies that are being forced to shutter."
However, California Highway Patrol Golden Gate Division Chief Chris Costigan hopes these seizures and arrests send "a strong message to would-be thieves and those facilitating their crimes that they will be held accountable."
Costigan said this is part of an ongoing investigation and that more arrests are expected.