Early morning raid at Los Angeles site seizes thousands in stolen retail goods

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Friday, May 3, 2024
Los Angeles raid seizes more than $100K in stolen cosmetics, drugs
Information from CVS investigators led to the seizure of more than $100,000 in pharmaceuticals and cosmetics stolen in Arizona, Nevada and California.

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- Before sunrise dozens of investigators move in to different locations near downtown Los Angeles. They are undercover members of the Organized Retail Crime Task Force.

One location is a warehouse full to the ceiling. Officials say all of these items are stolen.

"This is random because it's all stolen products so you see everything from food products, household products, everything you can think of that's stolen," says Captain Calvin Mah from the LA County Sheriff's department.

The sheriff's department got information from investigators for CVS. The haul includes more than $100,000 in pharmaceuticals and cosmetics taken from stores in Arizona, Nevada and California.

"Also part of it is cargo thefts, so things that are stolen off of train lines or trucks, freight, things of that nature, where they're just taking pallets with all the products in them," says Mah.

Investigators say these items then go to places like this. The items, which still have security tags and stickers from the original stores, are cleaned up. The tags are removed and they are prepared for sale.

Hiram Allen who lives next door to one raided location says he rarely saw anyone there.

"Somebody came out of there last month, a couple of times and that's it. No customers," says Allen.

The Task Force has focused on identifying and arresting individuals who commit organized retail thefts, like "flash mob" and "smash and grab" crews. Since 2023 the Task Force has recovered approximately $11.5 million in stolen merchandise.

"A lot a lot of these stores are losing money They have to have security there. A lot of stores are being closed down because they're losing all these products so we're trying to make a dent in this operation because we see how it affects the community," says Mah.

And with this latest bust officials say they identified at least 10 people involved in the Southern California crime operation.