Three men, who Florida prosecutors said carried out an elaborate statewide retail theft ring, targeted big name stores across Central and South Florida — including some in Brevard, Indian River, Martin and Palm Beach counties — then sold the stolen goods through an online marketplace.
Thousands of dollars in merchandise — mostly Yeti products, golf balls and tech devices — were taken from stores including Dick’s Sporting Goods, Target, and Walmart, going back to September 2020, law enforcement agencies reported.
Prosecutors said in a lone instance, $5,499 in goods were taken from a Martin County Dick's Sporting Goods store in one day.
“This trio targeted stores in 14 counties across our state, stealing thousands of dollars worth of merchandise while trying to evade capture. Their shoplifting has ended,” Attorney General Ashley Moody said in an emailed statement.
Moody said her agency will tackle the prosecution of the three men charged in the case.
Trio of men charged in statewide retail theft ring
State prosecutors named John McClure III and Marshawn Gordon, both of Palm Bay, who procured the goods. They said Vishram Baijnauth, of Winter Garden, knowingly bought the products from McClure and Gordon at low prices and then sold the goods on sites including eBay.
It was not immediately known if the stolen goods were recovered or how the three men knew each other.
The state agency said it worked with the Melbourne Police Department to bring a halt to the theft ring. Melbourne police, however, did not have details of the agency's involvement.
McClure was arrested out of state last month. Baijnauth was arrested July 12, in Winter Garden and Gordon was arrested by his probation officer last week.
The Attorney General’s office said McClure and Gordon donned masks and over a six-month period raided stores across 14 counties that lost over $30,000 in merchandise. The pair, according to state prosecutors, then sold the shoplifted goods on Facebook Marketplace under the name ‘China Sam.’
Investigators said Gordon and McClure carried out 28 separate thefts at stores in Brevard, Indian River, Martin, Palm Beach, Miami-Dade, Osceola, Pinellas, Polk, Alachua, Broward, Duval, Hillsborough, Orange and Seminole counties.
McClure is charged with one count of grand theft; one count of scheme to defraud and three counts of dealing in stolen property, state officials reported.
Gordon is charged with grand theft and one count of scheme to defraud, state records show.
Baijnauth is charged with two counts of dealing in stolen property, the Attorney General’s office reported.
It was not immediately known if the three men would be prosecuted together or what the court venue would be. Court dates have not been set. Information about defense attorneys was not available.
This article originally appeared on Florida Today: State officials break up elaborate statewide retail theft ring