Investigators seize 74,000 suspected stolen items from WA stores to be sold around the world

The U.S. Attorney's Office Western District of Washington has filed a complaint detailing 74,000 suspected stolen goods seized from a now closed Burien storefront, an adjacent warehouse and a home in Federal Way.

The complaint says investigators went undercover to conduct "controlled sales of products they represented to be stolen" at the storefront multiple times, as well as purchased similar products at online storefronts connected to two men in King County.

"It is reflective of the underlying retail crime that we see as plaguing our community," said Steven Schrank, Deputy Special-Agent-in-Charge with Homeland Security Investigations Pacific Northwest.

Search warrants were served at all three locations in December 2023 and the complaint says investigators seized more than 74,000 items believed to be stolen from Target, Walmart, Walgreens, CVS, Ulta, Best Buy, Vons, Rite Aid and Petsmart.

Schrank says helathcare products, beauty aids, tools and more were among the merchandise seized.

"These are not things that I would want my family purchasing, unwittingly from an online marketplace," said Schrank. "Especially when you're dealing with over the counter medications and health and beauty products."

Schrank says the merchandise was intended to be sold through online accounts on eBay and Amazon.

Documents show one of the accounts to have made 74,291 sale transactions between January 1, 2022 and June 16, 2023, totaling approximately $2,425,049.10.


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Items were not only allegedly stolen from Washington stores, but shipped across the United States and out of the country to Norway, Mexico, Sweden, Denmark, the United Kingdom, Australia, and Israel.

"This is not a crime of opportunity," said Mark Johnson, Vice President of Policy and Government Affairs for the Washington Retail Association.  "This is premeditated, planned, organized retail crime."

Johnson says the complaint is "sad" but "not surprising."

"It's very disturbing, and it definitely shows the public and our policymakers the depth and severity of the organized retail crime rings that are plaguing our communities," said Johnson.

Both Johnson and Schrank urge buyers to beware.

Schrank says this case is still under investigation and anyone that has information on organized criminal activity can send tips to 1-877-4-HSI-TIP.


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