A group of young men has been brazenly targeting retailers in Washington and Oregon recently. The group is accused of significant thefts of devices including iPhones and Apple Watches from stores. They recently entered an AT&T store in Marysville and stole roughly $5,000 in merchandise. They are described as typically entering the stores as a group and quickly removing large quantities of items and fleeing. The Marysville and Snohomish Police are seeking help from anyone with knowledge of their identities.
Injury and Subsequent Incident
In another recent incident, a customer in a store attempted to restrain one of the fleeing men. The customer was kicked to the floor and appeared to have an ankle injury. At a Snohomish T-Mobile store, the gang apparently stole more than $6,000 in products after entering the store less than a minute earlier. In this incident, the thieves used a Mitsubishi Galant to quickly drive away from the crime scene.
Pattern of Thefts
Investigators fear that the group may become increasingly more confident and begin moving on to more lucrative crimes. They have tended to allow for a lapse of several days between thefts. It is not known what the men are doing with the stolen merchandise. There are suspicions that items may be sold to unsuspecting buyers on the internet. The Crime Stoppers of Puget Sound has offered a $1,000 reward for information that leads to an arrest.
The act involves unlawfully obtaining control over the property that belongs to someone else. It may involve knowingly depriving the rightful owner of property or services. It may involve deception and may involve a coordinated effort among multiple parties.
Organized Retail Theft
Washington law discusses the crime of organized retail theft in RCW 9A.56.350.
- May involve the theft of items that exceed $750 from a merchant with assistance from an accomplice.
- May involve possession of stolen property with a value that exceeds $750 taken from a merchant with an accomplice
- Steals property from one or more merchants that exceed $750 within a period of 180 days
- May involve the theft of items that exceed $750 from a merchant with assistance from accomplices that they have some electronic communication with to plan or discuss how to commit the theft
- First-degree organized retail theft involves property that is valued at $5,000 or more; this constitutes a class B felony
- Second-degree organized retail theft involves property this is valued between $750 and $5,000; this constitutes a class C felony
- Any such acts of theft that occur within 180 days may be combined and the total value will determine the level of the offense
A class B felony offense is punishable by up to ten years of incarceration and a maximum fine of $20,000. A class C felony offense is punishable by up to five years of incarceration and a maximum fine of $10,000.
Seasoned Criminal Defense Lawyer for Theft Offenses
Those who have been charged with organized retail theft may face penalties including a lengthy prison sentence and a large fine. Attorney Steve Karimi has a solid understanding of the elements necessary to prove these offenses and thus how to effectively defend against them. Contact the office today at (206) 621-8777 for a case evaluation.