SALT LAKE CITY — Utah officials have arrested a man they say was profiting from reselling large amounts of stolen merchandise from local big-box retailers like Home Depot.
The Utah Attorney General Office’s Economic Crimes Unit said Oscar Martinez, 45, of West Valley City, has been charged with possession of stolen property; 3 counts of unlawfully acquiring stolen property, and money laundering.
Officers recovered more than $80,000 worth of new, brand-name power tools, home goods, and sporting equipment, that Martinez was allegedly planning to illegally sell.
A statement from the Utah AG’s office indicates that Martinez is alleged to have used people who are addicted to drugs to steal the merchandise in question. The statement says that Martinez would pay a small amount of money to those who stole the property for him, and then resell the merchandise online for a profit.
This operation has been going on for more than a year according to the AGs office.
“Organized retail crime is a very serious problem in Utah, and is also a national trend,” said C.A.S.E Commander Christopher Walden.
“It’s become an epidemic and is driving up the costs of these items so that the stores can cover their losses. We are committed to continuing to fight these crimes throughout the state.”
C.A.S.E is a joint task force between the Utah Attorney General’s office and the Utah Department of Public Safety, state bureau of investigations.
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