Major organized retail crime bust seizes 74,000 stolen items

Jun 25, 2024
Written by WR Communications

Reneé Sunde, President and CEO, and Mark Johnson, Sr, VP of Policy and Government Affairs recently spoke to the media about the significant retail theft operation uncovered in Burien. Speaking with KIRO7 and respectively, they highlighted the growing issue of organized retail crime in the state. 

Authorities seized 74,000 suspected stolen items from a Burien storefront, an adjacent warehouse, and a Federal Way home. This operation, detailed by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Washington, revealed a scheme to sell stolen merchandise globally through platforms like Amazon and eBay. 

Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) led the undercover effort, with Deputy Special Agent in Charge Steven Schrank explaining, “On multiple occasions, we had undercover officers portray themselves as individuals seeking to sell stolen merchandise.” The investigation uncovered vast quantities of healthcare products, beauty aids, and tools stolen from major retailers. 

Sunde emphasized the calculated nature of these crimes, saying, “It’s not just coming into a store and stealing something for individual use; we’re seeing a growing increase of organized crimes throughout Washington.” She warned consumers to be cautious of unusually low prices online, as these could indicate stolen goods. 

Johnson echoed these concerns, describing the crime as “premeditated, planned, organized retail crime.” He urged the public and policymakers to recognize the severity of organized retail crime rings affecting communities. 

Both Sunde and Johnson stressed the importance of consumer vigilance and reporting suspicious activities to help combat retail theft. The investigation is ongoing, with authorities accepting tips at 1-877-4-HSI-TIP. 


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