Two people were arrested in an organized retail theft operation that was selling stolen merchandise behind a makeshift storefront display in downtown Los Angeles, authorities said Thursday.
The retail theft fencing operation involved nearly $200,000 in merchandise stolen from Los Angeles-area CVS and Victoria’s Secret stores, the California Highway Patrol said. A ‘fence’ is a person or group of people who buy stolen goods and then sell those items at seemingly legitimate businesses, swap meets and online. The goods are then sold to buyers who may or may not be aware the merchandise was stolen.
In this case, the criminals were selling stolen merchandise from a location behind a storefront-style display in downtown LA, the CHP said. Nearly 14,000 stolen items were recovered with a retail loss of nearly $200,000, the CHP said.
Investigators determined the items were stolen with assistance from retail loss prevention personnel at the businesses, the CHP said.
Items recovered included makeup, cosmetics and other products. Some of the items were found in downtown LA’s Santee Alley area, authorities said.
“Sometimes, if it sounds too good to be true it probably is,” said CHP Lt. Sergio Perez. “In this case, we’re talking about Victoria’s Secret. Well, Victoria’s Secret has their own storefronts, so for their product to pop up on the street somewhere, chances are it’s going to be a fake or it could be a stolen product. Just be cognizant of that if you’re buying name-brand.”
A 47-year-old man from Los Angeles and a 43-year-old Panorama City woman were arrested.
The investigation was conducted by the CHP’s Southern Division Organized Retail Crime Task Force and the Los Angeles Police Department’s newly created Los Angeles Organized Retail Crime Task Force. The LAPD task force was launched after a series of high-profile retail thefts involving large groups of criminals in the LA area.
Source: NBC Los Angeles