Hillsborough County
Chad Chronister, Sheriff
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    Release Number: 18-394

    • For Immediate Release:
    • Public Information Office of Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office
    • May 1, 2018
    • Contact Person:
    • Public Information Office : piocommandcenter@hcso.tampa.fl.us
    • 813/247-8060

    Retail Theft Initiative

    HCSO detectives arrested 34 individuals and recovered over $90,000 in new items.
    • Sunday
    • April 1, 2018
    • Time: 12:00 AM
    • Hillsborough County

    Details:

    A two-month investigation involving the sale of stolen goods wrapped up last week when HCSO detectives arrested 34 individuals and recovered over $90,000 in new items, still in their boxes, along with five pounds of marijuana and other stolen goods.

    Detectives worked in conjunction with Home Depot corporate security to target thieves (boosters) who were stealing goods from their store, as well as others retailers, and then reselling them to intermediaries (fences) for almost 80% off retail. The fences would then sell the stolen goods to the public at approximately 30% off the retail price claiming they were authorized dealers, bought in bulk or they were selling a gift they received. The fences used OfferUp, Let-Go and Facebook Marketplace to advertise their stolen goods. The Home Depot Corporation revealed a total loss of $2.4 million in power tools over 12 months from four stores in the eastern portion of Hillsborough County (Brandon, Riverview, Valrico and Sun City Center).

    On April 19-20, 2018, detectives conducted a two-day sting operation where the “boosters” were targeted as they were attempting to steal from the above listed stores. This resulted in the arrest of 21 subjects.

    On April 24th, 2018, HCSO executed simultaneous search warrants at the residences of the four main Fences. They arrested Joshua Burr, W/M, (02-21-1987), Kyle Walters ,W/M, (12-04-1980), Duane Gutherie, W/M, (10-29-1971) and Aaron Orr, B/M, (03-27-1984). Between them, they were collectively charged with eight 1st Degree Felonies and nine 2nd Degree Felonies. Two had their felony probation revoked.

    During their arrests, the following items were seized:

    • Over $90,000.00 of New In Box merchandise
    • $30,000.00 in U.S. currency
    • 5.2 Pounds of Marijuana
    • A stolen, 2008 boat
    • A stolen, 2015 boat trailer
    • A 2005 Dixie Chopper lawn mower
    • A 2013 Dodge Challenger
    • A 2010 Honda Accord

    QUICK FACTS:

    Two month investigation involving the sale of stolen goods through social media:
    • OfferUp
    • Let-Go
    • Facebook Marketplace
    Arrests:  34 during the entire investigation

    On April 24, 2018 HCSO executed 4 simultaneous search warrants at the residences of the four main targets.  The following items were seized as a result of the search warrants:
    • Over $90,000.00 of new, In-Box merchandise
    • $30,000.00 in U.S. Currency
    • 5.2 Pounds of Marijuana
    • A stolen, 2008 boat
    • A stolen, 2015 boat trailer
    • A 2005 Dixie Chopper lawn mower
    • A 2013 Dodge Challenger
    • A 2010 Honda Accord
    Four Main ("fences") re-sellers of stolen goods
    • Joshua Burr W/M DOB: 2/21/1987
    • Kyle Walters W/M  DOB: 12/04/1980
    • Duane Gutherie W/M  DOB: 10/29/1971
    • Aaron Orr B/M DOB: 3/27/1984
    Collective charges between the four:
    • Eight 1st Degree Felonies
    • Nine 2nd Degree Felonies
    • Two of the main targets had their felony probation revoked.
    On April 19-20, 2018, HCSO detectives along with Home Depot corporate security conducted a two-day sting where the "boosters" were targeted as they were attempting to steal from the above listed stores.  This resulted in the arrest of 21 subjects.

    How they did it:
    • "Boosters" would steal new or like new items.  Many stole to fund substance abuse.
    • Boosters negotiate with the four "fences" to sell items to them for 70% to 80% less than retail.
    • Fences would sell to public on social media for approximately 30% less than retail.
    Too good to be true?
    • Excuses why the tools were so cheap:
      • Claim to be an authorized dealer in DeWalt or Milwaukee tools.
      • Claim to buy in bulk, therefore able to resell at a much lower price.
      • Claim they received the tool as a gift and do not need it.
    The Home Depot Corporations revealed a a total loss of 2.4 million in power tools over 12 months from the four stores in the eastern portion of Hillsborough County.
    • Brandon, Riverview, Valrico and Sun City Center








     

     

     

  • Sheriff Chad Chronister
    Sheriff Chad Chronister
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