AG investigators destroy major retail theft case

WEST VALLEY CITY – The Utah Attorney General’s Office (Crimes Against Statewide Economy) CASE unit has arrested a West Valley City man who was profiting from the resale of large quantities of stolen goods to local big box retailers. Officers recovered more than $ 80,000 in brand new power tools, household items and sports equipment intended for illegal sale.

Photos of the seized goods: Here

And here.

And here.

Oscar Martinez, 45, has been charged with Possession of Stolen Property; 3 counts of illegal acquisition of stolen property and money laundering.

Organized theft in retail is one of the most serious challenges facing retailers this year. Across the country, people load shopping carts with expensive goods and simply steal them. It is estimated that millions of dollars in goods are lost every month across the country. The proceeds are typically sold in online marketplaces, with the money typically used to fund drug addiction.

Martinez would have arranged for drug addicts to steal the goods for him. Agents say he would provide shopping lists for the items at retailers, including Home Depot, then pay a fraction of the value, then resell them online for a profit. They say this illegal operation has been going on for over a year.

“Organized retail crime is a very serious problem in Utah, and it is also a national trend,” said CASE Commander Christopher Walden. “It has become an epidemic and is driving up the costs of these items so that stores can cover their losses. We are committed to continuing to fight these crimes statewide.

CASE is a joint task force between the Utah Attorney General’s Office and the Utah Department of Public Safety, State Office of Investigations. ——

ICAC arrest in Salt Lake County

SALT LAKE COUNTY – Also this week: ICAC officers continued to investigate dozens of tips received regarding citizens distributing child pornography. ICAC officers arrested a man on Wednesday after discovering tens of thousands of cases of child sexual abuse at a residence. Officers also recovered drugs and a gun from the home.

Officers charged Garret Brian Ferrari, 60, with 10 counts of sexual exploitation of a minor. Firearms and drug offenses will be charged separately. On the spot, Ferrari admitted that it has been collecting these files for years, which corroborates the volume of files recovered. ###

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