Over twelve individuals are currently charged in relation to a florida retail theft operation, which resulted in over $20 million in losses just this year.
In a press conference, Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody stated that, “It is well organized, it is profitable, it is criminal, this is the modern-day mafia and criminal organizations that we’re taking down.”
As per the Miami-Dade Police Department, a total of 14 individuals are now facing charges following an extensive nine-month investigation known as “Operation On the Fence.”
This operation, which commenced in January, focused on apprehending professional shoplifters, commonly referred to as “boosters,” who aim to resell stolen merchandise for financial gain.
Throughout this operation, investigators successfully identified more than 87 habitual boosters, ultimately leading them to suspects who have profited in the millions from this illicit scheme.
Authorities have indicated that approximately 50 individuals across Florida were implicated. The thefts occurred at various locations across South Florida, prompting the involvement of numerous local and state law enforcement agencies, as well as Homeland Security Investigations.
These alleged thieves targeted various retailers throughout South Florida, prompting extensive investigations by multiple local and state law enforcement agencies, in addition to Homeland Security Investigations.
“We have seized not only material from inside the homes where they were stealing it after these items was stolen, but we seized pallets that were waiting to go and be sold online, we seized merchandise that was already with Amazon waiting to be sold that was stolen,” Moody said.
Among the impacted retailers are Walgreens, CVS, Walmart, Publix, Winn Dixie, Fresco Y Mas, Navarro, Home Depot, Lowes, Dick’s Sporting Goods, Target, Sam Ash, Best Buy, Harbor Freight, The Fiddle Shop, Guitar Center, Golf Galaxy, Macy’s, BJ’s, Costco, and several pool supply stores.
Officials reported that the robbers made off with a range of items, from medications to high-end golf bags.
“Miami-Dade County has no tolerance, zero tolerance for these crimes,” Miami-Dade Mayor Daniella Levine Cava said. “Retail theft is not a victimless crime.”
The NBC affiliate WTVJ reported that a majority of the suspects have been apprehended, but three are still at large. The news source also mentioned that one of the suspects collided with a detective’s patrol car before being apprehended.