California Attorney General Rob Bonta announced Friday that multiple people were facing prison time for their roles in a multimillion-dollar theft scheme targeting Bay Area retailers — one Bonta called among the largest theft-ring busts in state history.
Law enforcement officials recovered around $8 million worth of stolen merchandise from retailers like CVS, Walgreens and Target, from the ring’s warehouse, residences and storage facility, along with roughly $85,000 in cash. Officials also seized nearly $1.9 million from the ring’s various bank accounts ,according to The San Francisco Chronicle.
“Smash-and-grabs, luxury store shakedowns, the pillaging of department stores: The organized retail theft we are seeing throughout the country and in California is unacceptable,” Bonta said at a news conference outside a CVS store in San Mateo County that was among the places targeted by the group. “Organized criminals resell their stolen goods and in many cases use the money to fund additional illicit activity.”
Nationwide, retail organizations have warned of a rise in the amount of merchandise being stolen as many states have changed shoplifting laws to raise the amount a thief needs to steal to be charged.