Retailers are noticing a significant uptick in organized crime rings, particularly in San Francisco, that steal products in stores and sell them online, The Wall Street Journal reported.
CVS investigators in San Francisco tracked about 24 thieves stealing up to about $39,000 per day from its stores during the fall of 2020, The Wall Street Journal reported. These organized shoplifters, called “boosters,” have stolen about $59 million over the past five years from several CVS stores in Northern California, according to The Wall Street Journal.
Ben Dugan sat in an unmarked car, tracking an organized-crime footsoldier who would lead him to “Daniel the Medicine Man.” His employer: CVS. https://t.co/OtimSsaYdi
— The Wall Street Journal (@WSJ) September 2, 2021
CVS is one of many retailers spending millions per year to combat boosters who sell stolen goods online, usually on Amazon, according to The Wall Street Journal. Ben Dugan, one of CVS Health Corp.’s top investigator, stops these boosters, The Wall Street Journal reported.
“We’re trying to control it the best we can, but it’s growing every day,” Dugan told The Wall Street Journal.
Dugan follows the thieves, compiles investigative reports, and sits outside CVS’ storefronts—all without a hat because thieves think anyone in a hat must be a cop, according to The Wall Street Journal. The exception to the hat rule is Boston, where everybody wears hats, Dugan told The Wall Street Journal.
Retail investigators told The Wall Street Journal that sentencing laws in some states, including California, have contributed to an uptick in thefts. (RELATED: Here’s How The Democrats Turned San Francisco Into Gotham City)
A 2014 California law reduced the theft of less than $950 worth of goods from a felony to a misdemeanor. Target just reduced its hours in five San Francisco stores because of an increase in theft.