Police in West York have arrested 110 people in what is being called an organized retail crime ring, and say they have more arrests to make. The investigation began last October, when they were tipped that an inordinate number of specific items were being returned to stores without receipts on store gift cards. The items were being stolen by groups of 3 or 4 professional shoplifters, known as “boosters,” working in tandem.
The gift cards and items were taken to the operation’s organizer, James Giuffrida, who runs a graphics business in West York, Powerhouse Graphix. Giuffrida, 30, then sold the stolen gift cards and merchandise online. Police raided Giuffrida’s home in business in November, 2012, and siezed over 700 gift cards, hundreds of stolen items, hundreds of pieces of documentation of transactions involving the illegally obtained gift cards, over $12,000 cash, hundreds of counterfeit DVD’s and CD’s and over a dozen computers. Police have identified over 200 people involved in the ring, a list that continues to grow as retailers provide more information.
So far, police have determined the ring committed over 2,500retail thefts and/or fraudulent return incidents at 92 retailers at over 300 locations in York, Adams, Cumberland, Dauphin, Lebanon and Lancaster Counties as well as northern Maryland. The estimated loss to retailers is approximately $750,000.