Massive Shoplifting Ring Discovered in Michigan

Thursday, 10 Apr 2014 10:26 AM

By Courtney Coren

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Police in Michigan have uncovered a shoplifting operation that stole as much as $15,000 a day of products that would then be sold on the internet.

Police in Hazel Park, Mich. discovered a 7,600-square-foot warehouse where the products were stored until they sold on websites such as eBay and Amazon, USA Today is reporting.  Some investigators say it's the largest collection of stolen goods they have ever seen.

It started to come under the radar of drug investigators in March because the shoplifters would steal items such as cold medicine, antacids and other over-the-counter drugs from drugstores.

The Oakland County Narcotics Enforcement Team thought the medicines that were being stolen were being used to make methamphetamine.

According to Oakland County Sheriff Michael Bouchard, the operation likely existed for years.

At this point, it looks like the group consisted of three female shoplifters who were given lists of specific items to lift, and had modified clothes that would allow them to hide items they stole.

The women each would steal $9,000 to $15,000 in merchandise daily and would be give $2,500 for each day of work, Bouchard said.

Police found $75,000 in cash in the warehouse, along with $30,000 in drugstore merchandise, $10,000 in items from other stores, and more than $3 million in lotions and perfumes from Victoria's Secret in Las Vegas.

Police say the group recently purchased the warehouse for $200,000 in cash, and it was "clean and tidy and well-run."

Five people, including the three women, have been charged with involvement in an organized retail crime.

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