Two men have pleaded guilty to their role in an organized retail theft ring that struck stores all over the state following a two-year investigation, state Attorney General Rob Bonta announced Friday.

The duo operated within the ring from September 2020 and February 2021, stealing more than $1 million in jewelry from many JCPenney and Sam’s Club stores in nine California counties, Bonta said. Both were sentenced to 16 months in state prison.

In a statement from the Department of Justice, authorities said a third person was charged with retail theft and child endangerment. Investigators allege they found an illegal assault weapon in the presence of a 9-year-old child.

A fourth person in the ring also has been charged with retail theft, authorities said.

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The only Bay Area stores involved in the crime ring were in Contra Costa County. According to Bonta, investigators with the CHP’s Organized Retail Crime Task Force needed two years to bust the ring.

Authorities said the two entered stores by breaking and entering through exterior doors and stole high-end jewelry. Outside the Bay Area, they invaded stores in Fresno, Kern, Kings, Placer, Sacramento, San Bernardino, Santa Clarita and Tulare counties.

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Source:: The Mercury News


Two plead guilty in statewide organized crime ring, sentenced to 16 months in prison

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