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Published on April 17, 2024
Criminal Group Charged in $230k+ Retail Theft Across Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, and PennsylvaniaSource: Google Street View

In what's described as a "brazen criminal activity," four men were charged with orchestrating a large-scale theft operation, allegedly hauling off more than $230,000 worth of merchandise from Home Depot stores across Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Pennsylvania. U.S. Attorney Zachary A. Cunha announced the arrests yesterday, involving goods swiped over a span of five years, as reported by The Boston Globe.

Named in the federal court documents, the suspects — Marvin Estuardo Morales De Paz, 33; Abraham Dayger-Enrique, 24; Sebastian Lajuj-Soloman, 30; and Jonathan Josue Amperez-Perez, 31, are all from Guatemala, and allegedly collaborated with others to resell stolen items, from power tools to electrical wiring. The defendants face charges of interstate transportation of stolen goods, and conspiracy, to commit interstate transportation of stolen property.

Police reports, security footage, and cellphone records obtained by investigators revealed participation in more than 30 documented thefts since July 2019. WPRI notes that the goods they targeted also included flooring, power tools, and were lifted from not only Home Depot but also Lowe's and Kohl's.

Morales De Paz, Dayger-Enrique, and Lajuj-Soloman were nabbed in Rhode Island last Friday and remain in federal lockup, while Amperez-Perez was collared in Pennsylvania, according to Cunha's office. Search warrants carried out last week in Providence, and Cranston unearthed approximately $11,000 in presumably pilfered items, along with $83,000 in cash and a 2019 Ford F-150.

A Homelands Security Investigations Special Agent, Brendan Cullen, described the operation in an affidavit, pointing out a persistent pattern of "brazen criminal activity across multiple states." The accused purportedly made use of WhatsApp to coordinate their heists and fence the stolen goods. The most significant single haul, as per court documents, occurred at a Johnston, R.I., Home Depot where $28,826 worth of electrical wire was plundered on April 5, 2023. All stolen merchandise was recovered post-arrest, the court documents affirm.