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Suspects Arrested In LA County Retail Theft Ring Investigation

LOS ANGELES COUNTY — A man and a woman were arrested in connection with an investigation into an organized retail theft ring involving nearly $200,000 worth of in stolen products, the California Highway Patrol announced today.

A 47-year-old Los Angeles man and a 43-year-old Panorama City woman were arrested, the CHP reported. Their names were not immediately released.

The arrests were made by members of the CHP Southern Division Organized Retail Crime Task Force, working with the Los Angeles Police Department and its newly created Los Angeles Organized Retail Crime Task Force.

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On Tuesday, investigators targeted a retail crime “fence” location that was selling stolen retail merchandise in the downtown Los Angeles area, the CHP reported. The location was not revealed.

“A `fence’ is an individual or group of individuals who purchase stolen retail merchandise from those who commit smash-and-grab robberies and organized retail thefts and then sells the stolen merchandise at seemingly legitimate businesses, swap meets or online,” the CHP said in a statement.

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“The buyers of the stolen merchandise may or may not be aware that the products they are purchasing were stolen as part of an organized retail crime operation,” the CHP said.

“The fence location (targeted on Tuesday) was using a makeshift storefront style display to sell the stolen retail merchandise,” the CHP said.

“Through the investigation, investigators were able to determine the merchandise was stolen with the assistance of retail loss prevention personnel,” the CHP said. “It was determined the recovered merchandise had been stolen from Victoria Secret and CVS retailers in the greater Los Angeles region. A total of 13,906 stolen items were recovered with an approximate retail loss of $198,000 to the victims.”

Anyone with information on stolen property crimes was urged to call task force investigators at (323) 644-9550.

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