Shoplifting ring with 15,000 stolen goods worth $200K busted, Calif. cops say

"We hope this sends a strong message to would-be thieves facilitating their crimes that they will be held accountable," officials said


By Don Sweeney
The Sacramento Bee

SAN FRANCISCO — Investigators broke up a San Francisco Bay Area retail theft ring connected to at least $200,000 in stolen merchandise, California Highway Patrol officers said.

Investigators recovered 15,000 items stolen from CVS, Victoria's Secret, Target, GAP, TJX, LensCrafters, Nordstrom, Walgreens, Safeway and other stores, a CHP news release said.

In a Facebook post, California Highway Patrol investigators said they had broken up a San Francisco Bay Area retail theft ring connected to at least $200,000 in stolen merchandise.
In a Facebook post, California Highway Patrol investigators said they had broken up a San Francisco Bay Area retail theft ring connected to at least $200,000 in stolen merchandise. (California Highway Patrol)

They also arrested two people, including one who arrived at a San Francisco storage unit while investigators were searching it for stolen goods, the release said.

An earlier arrest initially led investigators with a CHP task force on organized retail crime to a Vallejo storage unit and home, where they arrested the first suspect, on Thursday, Dec. 9.

At the same time, other investigators searched the San Francisco storage unit, where they encountered and arrested a second person later accused of being connected to the ring.

"The brazen retail thefts we've seen recently are organized by sophisticated criminal enterprises and they demand a no-less sophisticated response from law enforcement agencies working in close coordination," said Chris Costigan, chief of the CHP's Golden Gate Division.

More arrests are expected in the investigation, conducted in cooperation with the San Francisco Police Department, Costigan said in the release.

"We hope this sends a strong message to would-be thieves and those facilitating their crimes that they will be held accountable," he said.

"These kinds of crimes aren't just hurting large retailers," San Francisco Police Chief Bill Scott said. "In our city, they're hurting workers who are losing their jobs and seeing their hours cut. They're hurting seniors who depend on neighborhood pharmacies that are being forced to shutter."

[RELATED: San Francisco retailers can hire deputies to deter smash-and-grab thefts]

©2021 The Sacramento Bee. Visit at sacbee.com. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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