Retail theft investigation founds two stores reselling stolen merchandise

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Several people were arrested and stolen items that reached over $2 million in value were recovered in the span of more than two years of investigation into retail theft, San Francisco Attorney Chesa Boudin said on Monday, SFGATE reported.

The prosecutors said a series of thefts targeted the Macy’s department store in 2019 because the focus of the investigation was dubbed as Operation Focus Lens.

Investigators handling the case discovered a major retail theft band.

Rodolfo Castillo, being one of the identified suspects, faces stealing accusations. On three different occasions, Castillo allegedly stole items worth over $7, 500. Prosecutors said that he admitted to having sold the stolen merchandise to a company he identified as Camera Heaven.

Camera Heaven owners David Tran and Yanxia Xie were monitored by the investigators and were believed to have been placing the stolen items up for sale in flea markets and in their former store at 746 Larkin St. Prosecutors added that the pair is also suspected to have shipped a number of stolen merchandise to another person named Nate Pham in Vietnam.

Another organized retail theft operation was uncovered by the said investigation, which led the investigating team at a store Fashion Exchange with the location at 1446 Polk St.

Indictments were already secured by the District Attorney’s Office for the store’s owners Floriya Pavlichenko and Deanna Klinkovich. Prosecutors said the case is pending.

“My office is committed to combatting organized retail theft by targeting the source: the fencers who are profiting from the reselling of stolen goods,” part of the statement released by Boudin said. “I am also thankful to the many law enforcement agencies who partnered with us and helped us successfully recover stolen goods and identify individuals responsible for driving organized retail thefts in San Francisco.”

Boudin’s office has worked with the San Francisco Police Department, California Highway Patrol, San Mateo County Sheriff’s Office, among other local agencies for the Operation Focus Lens.

The said operation is an aspect of Operation Wrecking Ball, which investigates the connection between retail theft and downtown street vendors. Operation Wrecking Ball, earlier this month, led to an arrest of suspect Rodolfo Ivan Urbina Osejo who is being accused of possessing stolen items.