WEST VALLEY CITY, Utah (ABC4) – A West Valley City man has been arrested for carrying out a retail organized crime scheme and has been found with more than $ 80,000 in stolen goods.
The Economic Crimes Unit of the Utah Attorney General’s Office, CASE (Crimes Against Statewide Economy) identified the suspect as Oscar Martinez, 45.
Authorities recovered more than $ 80,000 in stolen goods, including brand name power tools, household items and sports equipment that police stole and plan to illegally resell.
Officials say Martinez asked people with drug addiction to steal the merchandise on his behalf, then paid them a fraction of what he would earn by reselling them. The stolen goods usually came from big box retailers in the city.
Martinez has been running this program for over a year, officials say. The attorney general’s office said the organized retail theft plagues retailers across the country, with an estimated loss of millions of dollars in stolen goods each month.
Typically, stolen goods are resold online and the proceeds are used to fund drug addiction, authorities say.
“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.
Martinez was arrested on charges of theft of property, money laundering and three counts of illegally acquiring stolen property.