9 accused in organized $102K theft from Safeway

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) – A group of 9 people is accused of stealing more than $102,000 from Safeway-Albertson stores, according to police.

The 5-week investigation into the suspect organized retail crime (ORC) began in October 2016.

ORC typically involves more than one individual, said Scott Chapman, the Director of Asset Protection for Albertson-Safeway. He said the groups usually steal merchandise and sell it on the black market.

“They’re in business to make money, whether it be for drugs (or) whether it be for re-selling,” Chapman said.

ORC can result in higher prices for consumers and less taxes for state and local governments, he said.

The thieves will steal in bulk quantity. Loss prevention officers showed KOIN 6 News the lengths the thieves will go.

Some will use what’s known in the industry as a “booster bag,” which is typically a large handbag lined with tinfoil. Other thieves will load up a shopping cart and simply leave without paying. Those are called “push outs.”

Chapman said ORC investigators are seeing thieves steal high-value items that are popular across a wide demographic of individuals such as laundry detergent, teeth whiting strips, allergy medicine and nutritional supplements.

“It’s a quick turn for them,” Chatman said. “They can sell it quickly.”

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