Organized retail crime can take many forms. Here are some examples of cases affecting food retailers:
KHOU-TV in Houston reported in May that since January, Brookshire Brothers, Lufkin, Texas, was being hit by “high-tech crooks” cashing fake payroll checks with falsified IDs. The criminals would steal a logo from a local company and use it to print fake checks in the back of a van. In one case, two suspects attempted to cash phony payroll checks from a local McDonald's but took off after the cashier called the restaurant to verify the checks. Brookshire did not respond to requests from SN for comment.
The Polk County (Fla.) Sheriff's Office reported in March that it shut down a retail crime ring responsible for the theft of thousands of cans of powdered baby formula in central Florida. The case, dubbed “Operation Hot Milk,” involved 21 suspects, all in the U.S. illegally from Honduras or Mexico, who allegedly stole the baby formula from 15 or more stores per day in six Florida counties and transported it out of state for sale. More than 3,000 cans of formula were seized, and the Sheriff's Office estimated that the suspects were stealing about $2.5 million worth of formula annually.
WPVI-TV (6ABC Action News), Philadelphia, reported last November that six neighborhood bodegas in Camden, N.J., were raided after being suspected of ties to an organized retail crime ring. In an operation called “Operation Bull's-eye” (after the logo for Target, one of the victimized retailers), authorities confiscated more than $100,000 worth of stolen goods, mostly health and beauty aids and baby formula. Other targeted retailers were Wegmans, CVS, Rite Aid, Wal-Mart, BJ's and Giant.