Arizona Electronic Crimes Task Force arrested over 30 people involved in 1.2 million shoplifting ring www.privateofficer.com
The Maricopa County Attorney’s office said an individual recruited others to shoplift items from retail stores such as Home Depot, Lowes and Walmart. According to investigators, the recruits used stolen identities to return the stolen items at a different location for store credit cards, which were then turned over to the recruiter to sell on eBay.
The investigation began in April 2010, when eBay contacted Scottsdale Police Computer Fraud detectives regarding suspicious activity on a user account that was reportedly linked to Wayne Clifford Bahlman involving numerous auctions of retail store credit cards through eBay.
According to the Maricopa County Attorney’s office, a Grand Jury indicted Bahlman and 35 others, alleging more than 50 felony counts including participation in a criminal syndicate, organized retail theft, fraudulent schemes and artifices, trafficking in stolen property and forgery.
The investigation was conducted as a joint initiative of the newly created Arizona Electronic Crimes Task Force (AZ-ECTF). This task force is one of 31 such task forces around the nation formed by the U.S. Secret Service to combat electronic crimes that cause significant economic or community impact. The AZ-ECTF is comprised of nine state and local law enforcement member agencies as well as dozens of other partner agencies and organizations.