Sunday, October 1, 2023

Two suspects were arrested after authorities discovered nearly $200,000 worth of stolen items being sold in downtown Los Angeles.

The suspects were only identified as a 47-year-old man from L.A. and a 43-year-old woman from Panorama City.

The bust was a result of the LAPD’s newly formed Organized Retail Crime Task Force.

Detectives investigated a retail crime fence that was selling stolen merchandise taken from Victoria’s Secret and CVS stores across the L.A. region.

The suspects were selling the items at a “makeshift storefront style display,” police said.

Photos from the bust show many tables of stolen items including bras, underwear and clothing from Victoria’s Secret.

The items taken from CVS included a variety of makeup items such as liquid foundation, lip gloss, face creams, mascara, eyeliners, pressed powder palettes, cologne and more.

Stolen healthcare items included sunscreen, deodorant, shaving razors, hair care products, toothpaste, toothbrushes, Plan B pills, allergy medication, ointments and more.

A total of 13,906 stolen items were recovered with an approximate retail value of $198,000, authorities said.

“A ‘fence’ is an individual or group of individuals who purchase stolen retail merchandise from those who commit smash-and-grab robberies and organized retail thefts and then sells the stolen merchandise at seemingly legitimate businesses, swap meets, or online,” authorities explain.

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The buyers of the stolen merchandise may not be aware that the products were stolen through an organized retail crime operation, police said.

The arrests come during a period where authorities are seeing an increasing number of robberies, including flash mob and smash-and-grab styles, taking place across Southern California.

The continuing thefts prompted the creation of an Organized Retail Crime Taskforce earlier this month to stop the rising number of group robberies targeting retailers.

The task force is comprised of several law enforcement agencies and will not only focus on the suspects robbing retailers, but also on those who purchase the stolen goods online, officials said.

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The downtown L.A. bust remains under investigation. Anyone with additional information is asked to call the CHP Southern Division ORCTF at 323-644-9550.

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