IL Retail Crime Task Force Makes First Major Bust

By Benjamin Cox on December 6, 2021 at 11:08am

Some of the stolen retail items recovered this past week by the Organized Retail Crime Task Force. (Courtesy of the Illinois Attorney General’s Office)

Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul announced today that his Organized Retail Crime Task Force recovered thousands of stolen goods at several storage units in Chicago. This is the first major bust as a result of the work of the Organized Retail Crime Task Force that is spearheaded by the Attorney General’s office.

Investigators with Raoul’s Organized Retail Crime Task Force, with support from Chicago law enforcement including the Chicago Police Department, executed search warrants at eight storage units in two locations. The units contained four semitrailers of merchandise, including apparel, beauty products, furniture, food items and electronics from multiple nationwide retailers. While a complete inventory is ongoing, the stolen goods are estimated to be worth millions of dollars.

Raoul says organized retail theft usually leads to other crimes: “The actual operation of these organized schemes are a lot more sophisticated than might be reflected in the footage of the commonly seen ‘smash-and-grab’ group thefts. There is a well-organized secondary market [of stolen goods]. Our goal is to disrupt the criminal enterprises that engage in the overall scheme and send a message to these criminal operations that we will identify them and end the destruction they cause to our communities. That’s why I’m proud to announce the first major seizure of stolen items by the task force…Frequently, the criminal enterprises behind these crimes are connected to other crimes, such as the drug trade and human trafficking. I am committed to identifying the perpetrators behind this and other organized retail crimes in Illinois.”

Charges into the seizure of the goods have not yet been announced. Raoul says the task force’s investigation is ongoing and an announcement about more details would be coming in the next few weeks.