Eight leaders who led brutal robberies at luxury stores in affluent Chicago suburbs have been arrested
Eight Chicago area leaders have been arrested after police seized $7.5 million in stolen retail goods.
Wilmette Police Department, along with other local and federal troops, rounded up eight men and women from Illinois and California on Oct. 6 after executing 12 search warrants.
The criminals reportedly sold stolen over-the-counter drugs and had a massive $7.5 million stash of stolen goods.
Police arrested: Michael Beals, 41, and Fe Keisha Hamlin, 41, both from Bolingbrook; Hani Hamad, 51, and Markell Spenser, 35, both from Chicago; Iad Hamad, 48, of Oak Lawn; Dylan Bryant, 28, Donald Kimball, 27, and Brett Pendleton, 26, all from California.
All eight are charged with employing people to shoplift at major retailers in the Chicago area. According to police, they were mainly targeting Kroger, Target, Walgreens and CVS pronunciation.
They reportedly had a stock of $7.5 million (pictured) that the police discovered after the arrest of one of the thieves
They would then resell the items in storefronts owned by the stake leaders after stripping the products of all identifying retailer information. They would also have sent these items to the east and west coasts.
“They would then ship to online co-suspect e-commerce merchants in California and third-party distributors in New York who introduced these products back into the supply chain,” police revealed.
They reportedly made “10 to 20 cents on the dollar” per item, WPD chief Kyle Murphy told me Fox news.
They also used multiple bank accounts to hide their belongings, police said.
On Oct. 6, multiple law enforcement agencies were able to recover $7.5 million worth of property, saying there was “evidence of an advanced criminal enterprise.”
“This investigation began after shoplifting in Wilmette led to the identification of a stolen property fencing in Chicago,” the police said in a statement.
At the beginning of the years-long investigation, an office belonging to Wilmette contacted one of the shoplifters and asked the suspect what he intended to do with the items.
The suspect reportedly told the officer a location, which ultimately led to the group’s arrest a year later, Murphy told Fox.
The investigation lasted a year and police discovered that they stripped the store information from the products and then sold it on their storefronts in Chicago and shipped it to the East and West Coasts.
‘Organized retail crime is increasing. It [has] negative economic impact on retailers,” Murphy continued. “Our biggest concern is safety. Most of these over-the-counter medications, allergy and health products are resold on third-party online marketplaces. The consumer does not know where he is buying expired medicines.’
The ringleaders are charged with several charges of: continuation of financial crimes, failure to file an income tax return, money laundering, wire transfer fraud, theft and money laundering conspiracy.
They are also all held on bail ranging from $500,000 to $1 million.