Family Accused Of Traveling The Country To Shoplift $7M Worth Of Merchandise

I don’t know about you, but when my family went on trips together it involved long car rides listening to books on tape, spending a week or hiking in the woods and other fun memories. None of those involved traveling together out of state to shoplift around $7 million in merchandise over decades, like one set of parents and their adult daughter group are accused of doing.

Officials in Illinois say the family crime spree spanned years, and involved the group traveling to stores around the country to boost dolls, toys, cosmetics and anything else valuable that could be resold on eBay, reports the Associated Press.

The three were arrested in their suburban Chicago home after coming back from a three-day trip Oklahoma, Texas and Louisiana, where they’re accused of stealing from stores in a tandem effort they used in other states like including Maryland, Tennessee and Florida, according to the 20-page complaint.

Police say the mother would wear a long black skirt with large compartments sewn in to hide items on shoplifting trips. Surveillance cameras allegedly show her leaving stores with a fuller skirt than when she walked in.

Officials tracked down the family after Toys ‘R Us and Barnes and Noble contacted the United States Secret Service to report “a huge loss in merchandise.”

Those companies and eBay helped authorities trace stolen items back to an online trading account of a person who ended up cooperating with the investigation. That person allegedly bought many of the shoplifted items — from American Girl dolls and Furbys to coffee — at the family home and then sold them on eBay. The family is also accused of selling more than $690,000 worth of stuff on their own.

The head of the Secret Service office in Chicago said this kind of state-spanning shoplifting spree is not only bad for stores, but for their customers.

“If this type of crime continues unchecked, the costs … will be passed from the retailer to the common shopper,” he said.

Each family member has been charged with one count each of interstate transportation of stolen property, and could face up to 10 years in prison.

Mom, dad, daughter accused in $7M shoplift spree [Associated Press]