The California Highway Patrol arrested 10 suspects in connection with an organized retail theft fencing operation involving approximately $218,379.69 in stolen products.
On Sept. 13, the CHP’s Southern Division Organized Retail Crime Task Force, working in conjunction with the Los Angeles Police Department and its newly created Los Angeles Organized Retail Crime Task Force, investigated an organized retail crime “fence” location which was selling stolen retail merchandise at local swap meets in the Los Angeles area.
The fence location was using a box truck and tents in a backyard of a private residence to conceal the stolen retail merchandise.
A “fence” is an individual or group of individuals who purchase stolen retail merchandise from those who commit smash-and-grab robberies and organized retail thefts and then sells the stolen merchandise at seemingly legitimate businesses, swap meets, or online. The buyers of the stolen merchandise may or may not be aware that the products they are purchasing were stolen as part of an organized retail crime operation.
Through the investigation and with the assistance of retail loss prevention personnel, investigators were able to determine the merchandise was stolen from CVS, Ralphs, Rite Aid, Walgreens, Amazon and Victoria Secret retailers in the greater Los Angeles region.
According to police, a total of 8,844 stolen items were recovered with an approximate retail loss of $218,379.69 to the victims. Additionally, $44,836 in cash was seized as evidence.
Ten suspects were arrested in connection with the fencing operation, seven men and three women — all from the city of Compton.
This is an ongoing investigation. Anyone with information related to the case is asked to contact the CHP Southern Division ORCTF at (323) 644-9550.
First published in the September 23 print issue of the Burbank Leader.