‘$400,000 in stolen merchandise’: 2 arrested, 3 sought in NC organized retail theft operation

North Carolina news

CABARRUS COUNTY, N.C. (WJZY) – Two people have been arrested and three others are being sought in connection to a large organized retail theft operation where about $400,000 in stolen merchandise from various stores were discovered packed inside a Cabarrus County home, the sheriff’s office said.

On Thursday, Sept. 16, the Cabarrus County Sheriff’s Office executed a search warrant at a home along Valhalla Drive in Harrisburg in reference to an investigation that began on Aug. 24 in partnership with investigators from Lowe’s, Home Depot, Target, Harbor Freight and Harris Teeter.

After conducting surveillance for weeks, it was discovered that the residents along Valhalla Drive, identified as Irma Hernandez and Bonifacio Silvas, had been running a retail theft operation from inside their home. 

The suspects had posted hundreds of new-in-box power tools, diapers, baby formula, laundry detergent, outdoor power equipment, small appliances, etc. for sale on online marketplace sites as well as conducting sales from inside the house, the sheriff’s office said.

The investigation showed that these items had been stolen from local Lowe`s and Home Depot stores within Cabarrus County and the surrounding area, investigators said.

CCSO said their investigation also showed that the criminal operation had been ongoing for over a year.

During a search of the home on Sept. 16, thousands of new-in-box items were found.

“The basement was nearly entirely filled with stolen products. There was a ‘slide’ built to assist in moving product into the basement. Upstairs rooms were stacked floor to ceiling with diapers and other new merchandise throughout the house. It took approximately 50 people with the Cabarrus County Sheriff’s Office and various retailers over 12 hours to move and inventory all the merchandise.  Approximately $400,000 of stolen merchandise was recovered from the residence,” the CCSO explained.

Both Bonifacio Silvas and Irma Hernandez were charged with continuing a criminal enterprise, three counts of organized retail theft >$1,500, three counts of organized retail theft >$20,000, felony possession of stolen goods, and three counts of misdemeanor possession of stolen goods. Both are currently in custody at the Cabarrus County Detention Center. Both Silvas and Hernandez received a bond of more than $200,000.

Outstanding warrants have been issued for Lakevis Maloye, Ke`Marseau McSwain, and Jermaine Walls, with more charges pending for other suspects involved as the investigation continues, the CCSO said.

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