Rob Bonta : “Beauty Supply Thieves Steal $8M in Heist”

In a recent crackdown on organized retail crime, authorities have arrested the alleged ringleader behind a sophisticated operation that targeted beauty stores such as Ulta and Sephora across 21 counties, including San Joaquin County. This criminal enterprise, which involved the theft and resale of over $8 million worth of beauty products, is believed to have been in operation for nearly a decade.

The scheme allegedly involved paying individuals to steal cosmetic items from retail outlets, including Ulta Beauty stores, and selling them at discounted prices on an Amazon storefront. Nine individuals have been charged in connection with the operation, including three illegal resellers known as “fences” and six individuals accused of committing the thefts in stores. The crimes reportedly extended as far as the East Coast.

The arrest of the ringleader was the result of a collaborative effort between the California Highway Patrol (CHP), California Attorney General Rob Bonta, and federal law enforcement agencies. This joint operation, which culminated in several months of investigation, demonstrates the commitment of law enforcement agencies to combatting organized retail crime.

The investigation was carried out by the California Department of Justice (DOJ), CHP, Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Postal Inspection Service, as well as Ulta’s Loss Prevention Organized Retail Crime team and Sephora Representatives. Since the establishment of the Organized Retail Crime Task Force (ORCTF) in 2019, the CHP has been involved in over 2,300 investigations, resulting in the arrest of more than 2,200 suspects and the recovery of $41.7 million worth of stolen goods.

The success of this investigation is attributed to the collaboration between various law enforcement agencies and retailers. CHP Commissioner Sean Duryee emphasized the importance of increased collaboration in the fight against organized retail crime. The charges brought against the individuals involved in the operation include Organized Retail Theft, Conspiracy, Receipt of Stolen Property, and multiple counts of Grand Theft.

The thefts occurred in numerous counties across California, including Alameda, Placer, Kern, Contra Costa, Orange, Los Angeles, Santa Clara, San Diego, Sacramento, and many others. If you witness any of these crimes taking place, it is advised not to intervene but to call 911. Members of the public and retailers can also report retail crime tips directly through the CHP’s website.

The crackdown on organized retail crime highlights the ongoing efforts of law enforcement agencies to combat criminal enterprises that target retail stores and undermine the integrity of the marketplace. This collaborative approach serves as a deterrent to would-be criminals and underscores the importance of community involvement in reporting suspicious activities.

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