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Organized Retail Crime Monthly News Recap: June 2024

Organized retail crime remains a serious problem for retailers across the country and around the world. Every day, there are countless stories about criminal enterprises victimizing stores, threatening the safety of customers and employees, and the very fabric of the retail industry. To give you a better feel for the vast impact of the problem, we have provided a glimpse into just a few of the incidents that took place in the month of June, 2024.

Authorities Seize $1 B in Counterfeit Goods—Largest Bust in US History
Federal authorities announced that recent raids on storage facilities in New York City uncovered a substantial amount of counterfeit handbags, shoes, and other luxury merchandise, potentially valued at over $1 billion if authentic. According to officials, approximately 219,000 items were seized from Manhattan storage locations in enforcement actions conducted by US Homeland Security investigators and city police. Two individuals were charged with trafficking counterfeit goods. US Attorney Damian Williams described the raids as “the largest-ever seizure of counterfeit goods in US history.”

Nearly $2M In Stolen Merchandise Seized in ORC Bust
Four people were arrested and close to $2 million in merchandise stolen from dozens of Southern California stores was seized in a bust on an ORC ring. California Highway Patrol reported that loss prevention with TJX Companies discovered their stores across Southern California were being repeatedly hit by ORC teams and contacted the CHP Border Division’s Organized Retail Crime Taskforce. Investigators traced the stolen goods to a mobile home where they discovered “stolen merchandise packed nearly floor to ceiling.” CHP investigators also discovered four self-storage units linked to the home with even more stolen merchandise. All the merchandise still had the store tags in place. The stolen merchandise was valued at a little over $1.9 million. It had been stolen from 43 different stores. Investigators also recovered $65,000 in cash.

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LAPD seizes more than 2,800 boxes of LEGOs in massive retail theft bust
Two people have been arrested in connection with a retail theft ring that allegedly stole thousands of LEGO toys from several Southern California retailers. Police said detectives became aware of a series of thefts from a retailer where loss prevention personnel identified the suspect, who was seen stealing items from the same retailer in Torrance and Lakewood before dropping them off at the second suspect’s home. A search warrant was served by LAPD Harbor Area detectives where they recovered more than 2,800 boxes of LEGO toys. Individual items seized varied in retail value from $20.00 to well over $1,000 each, police said in a press release. The stolen goods were then allegedly sold through online marketplaces.

Cops Seize $2M in Web-Bound Stolen Loot
Police raided a Southern California warehouse filled with an estimated $2 million worth of suspected stolen merchandise they say likely would have ended up on online marketplaces run by Amazon and other retailers. The California Highway Patrol’s cargo theft unit obtained a search warrant to inspect the Santa Ana facility following months of surveillance and communication with Amazon and other retailers. Inside the warehouse, pallets of inventory were stacked floor-to-ceiling. Crates of pet food, nutritional supplements, vacuum cleaners, air fryers and spray-on tan cluttered the building. Police estimate they seized about 12 cargo containers of inventory. According to sources, the cargo theft unit raided the same property in 2022 and recovered more than $9 million in stolen goods.

Arrests made in SoCal jewelry theft ring that cost businesses $1.5 million
Four suspects who allegedly carried out a string of robberies and burglaries at high-end jewelry stores, resulting in more than $1.5 million in losses to the businesses, have been arrested and charged. There were 21 separate thefts, most of which occurred in San Diego County. The thieves would often pose as customers, ask to see specific pieces of jewelry, then grab the items and run. Stores that were hit include Banter, KAY Jewelers, Zale’s, Marc Jacobs and JC Penney, among others. Charges filed include felony counts of organized retail theft, robbery, burglary and grand theft.

Man in retail theft ring, found with 5,000 Target gift cards
A man arrested during a Sacramento County Sheriff’s Office retail theft operation was convicted and sentenced to jail after tampering with thousands of Target gift cards as part of a scheme to siphon money through a nationwide organized crime network. The suspect was arrested after he took gift cards from a rack and replaced them with ones from his own jacket, prosecutors said. He then attempted to flee the store without paying for the items. When confronted, deputies saw about 200 gift cards fall out of his jacket. A search led investigators to find more than 5,000 gift cards in his car. “The amount of intended loss from the gift cards ranged from $31,125 to $2,869,000, depending on how much was placed on the cards by possible future victims who purchased them,” the Sacramento District Attorney’s Office said.

Man who stole $1M worth of merchandise sentenced to prison
A “prolific” organized retail thief was sentenced to years in prison after being convicted of stealing more than a million dollars’ worth of merchandise in Arizona, among other states. The Maricopa County Attorney’s Office said that Juan Ambriz-Rincon will spend three-and-a-half years in prison and must pay $300,000 in restitution. Ambriz-Rincon pleaded guilty to felony counts of organized retail theft, trafficking in stolen property, and possession of dangerous drugs. The Home Depot was the only victim in the thefts.

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Family-run “Dodger Crew” retail theft ring taken down by police
A multigenerational, family-run retail theft crew accused of robbing dozens of stores and stealing thousands of dollars in merchandise was taken down in South Los Angeles. The raid comes after an investigation by LAPD’s Organized Retail Theft Taskforce into the crime family, dubbed the “Dodger Crew” by police because they often wore Dodger attire during their heists. Detectives claim the suspects ran a lucrative business stealing pricey perfumes and colognes and then reselling the merchandise for a profit. “We’re out here today because it’s a multigenerational theft crew,” Det. Colin Langsdale said. “So, there’s a dad, what’s probably is his girlfriend or maybe a stepmom, two children and then another friend that are going out and doing this throughout the Southern California area.”

Baton Rouge Homeland Security says they’ve had 100% increase in retail theft arrests
The Baton Rouge Office of Homeland Security has been combating theft through the Louisiana organized retail crime task force, with agents saying they’ve made a 100% increase in arrests since December. According to Homeland Security, organized retail crime costs federal and state governments more than $15 billion annually, which ends up costing families more than $500 a year. During a recent sting operation, agents made 38 arrests, recovered nearly $5,000 in merchandise, and closed multiple pre-existing, open cases including arresting one longstanding career fugitive wanted in four parishes with seven warrants. Since launching this initiative last winter, Homeland Security says the operation has been successful and plans on doing many more sting operations.

Multiple people arrested in sting operation targeting organized retail crime
Multiple charges have been approved for numerous offenders following a retail sting operation orchestrated by Vernon Hills Police. In addition to local charges being filed, those arrested also had active arrest warrants throughout Illinois, California, Florida, Indiana, Maryland, Minnesota, New Jersey, North Carolina, Texas, and Virginia. Other results of the effort include the seizure of two vehicles from transnational organized crime groups, the recovery of approximately $27,000 in stolen merchandise, seizure of over $6,000 in cash believed to be theft proceeds, and the confiscation of fentanyl and ecstasy. They are also believed to be part of a crew responsible for over $100,000 in losses to Macy’s stores across the United States, authorities said.

5 suspects rob Chanel store at Tysons Galleria
Fairfax County police responded to another robbery at Tysons Galleria, this time at the Chanel store where five suspects entered the store and fled with over $100,000 worth of merchandise. One of the men discharged a fire extinguisher at a loss prevention employee before fleeing from the store. The group left in a white Alfa Romeo with an unknown suspect driver, according to police. Detectives believe the group is using the same vehicle and using stolen or altered license plates. Organized retail crimes are hitting Fairfax County hard, according to the police chief. “We’re still struggling with shoplifting,” Fairfax County Police Chief Kevin Davis says. “We went from 4,000 to 7,000 in just one year, and that’s alarming…”

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Washington man stole products from Safeway stores in four counties
A 56-year-old man accused of stealing merchandise from Safeway stores in nearly two dozen thefts has been charged by the Washington State Attorney General’s Office. Between late July 2023 and January this year, the suspect allegedly stole health and beauty products from 13 different stores in 4 counties to resell them. Albertsons is a participant in the task force, and, according to charging documents, indicated that the suspect had committed more than 45 thefts with losses totaling more than $76,606.80. The suspect has reportedly been charged in several jurisdictions, but continued to steal from their stores. He allegedly admitted to employees that he was stealing and reselling items to a “fence” in Seattle’s International District. He reportedly said he received 50 cents for each product he stole and that he was doing it to pay off a gambling debt.

For Those Interested in Learning More

June was another busy month for those involved in organized retail crime. For those interested in learning more, here are some of the additional incidents that took place this month. Click on the links to explore some of these events:

Multi-State Gas Pump Skimming & Fuel Theft Ring Busted in Florida
Five members of a multi-state gas pump skimming and fuel theft ring worked together to place skimmers on gas pumps, made counterfeit credit and debit cards, and then used them to purchase primarily diesel fuel.

New retail theft program leads to major arrest in Placer County
Charges have been filed against a man accused of stealing $17,000 worth of merchandise from an Apple Store. The suspect is also being connected to a regional theft operation spanning California and Nevada.

Authorities raid alleged fencing operation at Santa Fe home
Two women have been charged in an alleged fencing operation that saw stolen goods being bought and sold — or traded for fentanyl — out of a garage in Santa Fe. Authorities described the operation as akin to the stores from which the goods were stolen, with open and close times and a line of shoppers down the driveway.

Man arrested for $40K organized retail theft targeting TJX stores
A man was arrested by California Highway Patrol for thefts that targeted TJ Maxx and Marshalls. A search warrant was served, where officers found around $40, 376.76 worth of alleged stolen merchandise.

Your input and support can help send a critical message. If you have an ORC case that you would like to submit for the monthly round-up, please forward an email to us at

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