New York law enforcement officials, including the Office of the Attorney General and the Mayor, announced Thursday that 41 people have been arrested as part of a takedown of a massive retail theft operation.
According to officials, the shoplifters stole around $3.5M in goods from stores like Bloomingdale's, Macy's, Duane Reade, and Sephora.
The items would then be resold on the auction website eBay.
"Several of the defendants were responsible for organizing and taking inventory of the stolen goods, posting them on eBay for sale and ultimately shipping the stolen goods to purchasing customers," Attorney General Letitia James said.
Officials say the alleged ringleader, Roni Rubinov, hired so-called ‘boosters,’ or in other words, shoplifters, to steal items from stores across the city. However, Rubinov would then allegedly purchase the items from the shoplifters at a fraction of the price, usually 6-8% of their retail value.
"And stolen cosmetics and pharmaceutical items at a rate of $1 - $2 per item depending upon the brand," Attorney General James said.
Law enforcement seized over $3.8M of stolen retail items, more than 550 stolen gift cash cards, and more than $300,000 dollars in cash from Rubinov.
Mayor Adams said these recent smash-and-grab cases at first seemed like isolated incidents, making people and businesses feel unsafe.
"What we got in some circles that this was individualized crimes of opportunity," Adams said. "And no it was it was organized crime."
The investigation by the NYPD and the Office of the Attorney General remains ongoing and they say they are looking into other possible shoplifting schemes.