Two people have been charged in connection with an alleged shoplifting ring in which police say the accused stole clothes, cosmetic products and perfume from shopping malls and then sold the items from their Toronto home.
Toronto police say the items were taken from major retailers at various GTA malls between August and October of this year.
"Two to three individuals would attend up to eight mall locations each day in the GTA and blitz several stores in their illegal acquisition of product," Supt. Frank Bergen told reporters during a Wednesday morning news conference held at the Toronto Police College.
Following an investigation, police executed a pair of search warrants in the Jane Street and Sheppard Avenue area last Thursday and recovered a haul of products estimated to be worth at least $350,000.
Bergen said the following items were among the merchandise that police seized last week:
- 1,103 pairs of pants
- 1,532 shirts and sweaters
- 1,563 bras
- 2,505 pairs of underwear
- 736 bottles of cologne and perfume
- 994 containers of hand and foot creams
- 639 bottles of shampoo
- 294 tubes of toothpaste
Det. Bruno Miron said police learned of the alleged shoplifting ring through an anonymous tip.
That spurred the investigation, which involved working with loss-prevention officers in affected stores.
Bergen said loss prevention officers from Aritzia, the Gap and Mexx stores were involved in the investigation.
Miron said that the people involved with the thefts had a method of getting the merchandise out of the stores.
"They had bags … and they found a way to defeat the security features that the different stores had in place to prevent shoplifting," Miron said.
Police say a 50-year-old man and a 48-year-old woman were each charged yesterday with possession of property obtained by crime and possession for the purpose of trafficking in stolen goods.
Miron said the two people charged are both Canadians and have lived in the country for decades, though they were originally from Vietnam.
A 45-year-old woman is still being sought in connection with the investigation.
Earlier this year, York Regional Police announced the arrest of a mother and two sons who had allegedly been selling merchandise purchased with fraudulently obtained credit cards, from a home in Aurora, Ont.