ORLANDO, Fla. — Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody and the Melbourne Police Department have busted an organized retail theft ring that targeted stores across the Sunshine State.
According to a news release, two men, Marshawn Gordon and John McClure III, wore masks and raided stores, stealing nearly $30,000 worth of merchandise.
A third man, Vishram Baijnauth, knowingly purchased the stolen items from Gordon and McClure at unreasonably low prices to resell online.
The retail theft ring covered 14 counties and targeted stores that included Academy Sports, Bass Pro Shops, BJ’s Wholesale, Dick’s Sporting Goods, Target and Walmart.
“This trio targeted stores in 14 counties across our state, stealing thousands of dollars’ worth of merchandise while trying to evade capture. Their shoplifting has ended, and my statewide prosecutors will make sure they pay for their crime spree,” Moody said.
The investigation revealed that Gordon and McClure committed 28 separate thefts targeting specific merchandise in stores mostly Yeti products, tech devices and golf balls.
Authorities said the duo then sold the stolen goods through McClure’s online Facebook marketplace postings under the alias ‘China Sam.’
McClure either kept the items at a storage facility or transported the items to Baijnauth’s residence.
After obtaining a search warrant, police found products in Baijnauth’s home, along with computers, postage mailers, and scales for the product shipment.
Baijnauth paid McClure for the items, then sold the stock for profit on eBay.
The theft spanned the following counties: Alachua, Brevard, Broward, Duval, Hillsborough, Indian River, Martin, Miami-Dade, Osceola, Orange, Palm Beach, Pinellas, Polk and Seminole.
McClure is charged with one count of grand theft, a first-degree felony, one count of scheme to defraud, a second-degree felony; and three counts of dealing in stolen property, all second-degree felonies.
Gordon is charged with one count of grand theft, a second-degree felony; and one count of scheme to defraud, a third-degree felony.
Vishram Baijnauth is charged with two counts of dealing in stolen property, both second-degree felonies.
Moody’s Office of Statewide Prosecution will handle the cases.
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