“Operation Holiday Steals,” the first of its kind in South Florida, bringing together local, state and federal police kicked off in Broward County yesterday. Led by Sergeant Rich Rossman, Broward County Sheriff’s Office, who brought together over twenty major retailers, (who at this time will remain undisclosed as we are reporting the events in real-time) Broward County Sheriff’s Officers, local police, and for the first time, Homeland Security and Secret Service agents, to combat organized retail crime (ORC) throughout South Florida.
After a morning briefing, hundreds of LP professionals hit their stores looking for the offenders. As arrests were made, the suspects were processed through the various participating agencies. Credit cards in their possession were checked for identity theft through the participating banks, as well as being processed through Homeland Security, and the Secret Service looking for counterfeiting and money laundering.
eBay participated by investigating online fraud rings, and partnered with police and retailers resulting in the identification of an international fencing operation. An ORC ring was arrested in possession of shoplifting tools, including foil lined booster bags. Additionally, arrests were made of members of an ORC ring that is believed to have been in operation for over seven years and responsible for $500,000 to $750,000 in stolen clothing from area retailers. In all, twenty-four arrests have been made on the first day of the three-day operation, with many more pending.