BALTIMORE — Police raids of 35 locations in Baltimore County yesterday — including pawn shops, residences and warehouses — turned up about $22 million in stolen retail merchandise and resulted in 15 arrests in what may be one of the nation’s largest organized retail crime (ORC) cases.
The goods were stolen from numerous retail outlets in the Baltimore area, including Rochester, N.Y.-based Wegmans and Target stores.
More search warrants were issued today, Carl Phillips, asset protection regional manager for Wegmans, told SN. “This is far from over.”
Recovered merchandise included gift cards, cold medications, pregnancy tests, razor blades, batteries and video games. A Wegmans store in Hunt Valley, Md., outside of Baltimore, has been a frequent target of ORC activity.
Wegmans partnered with Safeway and Target in contributing to the investigation that led to yesterday’s raids, Phillips said. Police are forecasting the amount of stolen goods could reach up to $50 million, he noted, adding, “This is approaching one of the biggest organized retail theft cases on the East coast.”
Maureen Grande, Wegmans’ asset protection regional manager, Buffalo/Syracuse, said the Baltimore ORC ring is thought to have operated throughout the East Coast.
According to WBAL Baltimore, the lead defendant in the case is Jerome Stal, 40, who was convicted in 2002 of transportation of stolen property and sentenced to two years in prison.