Detroit Police Bust Shoplifting Ring Accused Of Stealing $15K Of Stuff Per Day

While you might think you know about shoplifting based on that ill-advised stint in middle school when everyone was doing it, cops in Detroit have fried a much bigger fish than your normal grab-and-go thieves: Investigators say they’ve just busted a shoplifting ring responsible for stealing as much as $15,000 worth of merchandise a day and reselling it on the Internet.

According to the Detroit Free Press, the accused thieves worked out of a 7,600-square-foot warehouse that served as the hub for the multimillion-dollar theft ring. Cops say it’s the largest such operation they’ve seen.

The county sheriff called the operation “amazing in size and scope,” and said it probably has been doing business for years before drug investigators happened upon it last month.

Investigators say the shoplifters were given shopping lists of what to steal, like cold medicine, antacids and other over-the-counter drugs from CVS, Walgreens and others. Theft of those items led investigators to the ring, thinking perhaps it was connected to making methamphetamine.

The “shoppers” would then wear special clothing designed to hide their ill-gotten gains, stuff their pockets full and bring the goods to the warehouse. They were allegedly paid $2,500 in cash per day for their hauls.

Investigators discovered $75,000 in cash, about $30,000 in merchandise from CVS and Walgreens, $10,000 in items stolen from other retailers and an additional $3 million in perfumes, lotions and creams stolen from Victoria’s Secret in Las Vegas.

Five people have been charged with felony counts of organized retail crime and receiving and concealing stolen property in connection to the ring.

“They bought this warehouse about nine months ago for $200,000 in cash,” the sheriff said of the operation, which another official described as “tidy.” “They were generating enough cash that they could plunk down $200,000 in cash to buy a facility to expand their operations.”

Police: ‘Amazing’ $15,000-a-day shoplifting ring targeted CVS, Walgreens [Detroit Free Press]

You can follow MBQ on Twitter if you’re willing to forgive her for the key chains she definitely did not mean to take from that crap store at the mall when she was 12: @marybethquirk

Want more consumer news? Visit our parent organization, Consumer Reports, for the latest on scams, recalls, and other consumer issues.