$218K in stolen retail merchandise found in backyard of L.A. home

Authorities with the California Highway Patrol’s Organized Retail Theft Task Force on Wednesday announced the recovery of more than $200,000 worth of stolen merchandise and the arrest of 10 suspects in connection with a retail theft fencing operation.

On Sept. 13, CHP partnered with LAPD’s newly formed Los Angeles Organized Retail Crime Task Force, to investigate the fencing operation, which was selling stolen retail merchandise at swap meets in the L.A. area, according to a new CHP news release.

A “fence” is either a person or group of individuals that buy merchandise stolen during smash-and-grab robberies and organized retail thefts, such as “flash-mob” style crimes, and then sell those goods as a seemingly legitimate business, online or at swap meets.

Investigators located the operation, which was being run out of the backyard of a private residence where the stolen merchandise was kept under tents and inside a box truck.

At the scene, CHP and LAPD officers found goods stolen from Victoria’s Secret, Amazon, CVS, Rite Aid and Ralphs stores in the greater L.A. area totaling an estimated $218,379. Investigators also seized nearly $45,000 in cash as evidence.

  • $218k in stolen merchandise found in back of L.A. home
    Stolen retail merchandise from at least five stores in the L.A. area was recovered by CHP and LAPD on Sept. 13, 2023. (CHP)
  • $218k in stolen merchandise found in back of L.A. home
    Stolen retail merchandise from at least five stores in the L.A. area was recovered by CHP and LAPD on Sept. 13, 2023. (CHP)
  • $218k in stolen merchandise found in back of L.A. home
    Stolen retail merchandise from at least five stores in the L.A. area was recovered by CHP and LAPD on Sept. 13, 2023. (CHP)

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The 10 suspects arrested were only described as three females and seven males from the South L.A. neighborhood of Compton.

“The CHP is committed to aggressively investigating organized retail crime activity in the Los Angeles region and throughout California,” the release noted.

An Organized Retail Theft Grant Program, which will send $267 million to 55 cities and counties in California, was approved by the Board of State and Community Corrections to combat these types of crimes.

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