The owner of a Waldorf, Maryland, store has been accused of running a theft ring, buying and selling more than $100,000 of stolen property out of his shop and his home.
Husani West, 42, of Alexandria, Virginia, the owner of Waldorf RC and Hobbies, has been charged with theft and “theft scheme,” the Charles County Sheriff’s Office said in a statement.
Diane Richardson, a spokeswoman for the sheriff’s office, said the investigation began in June, when a detective noticed an uptick in thefts from stores, as well as a rash of shoplifting arrests.
“It was the same group of people stealing the same types of items over and over,” Richardson said — a wide variety of things, but mostly printer cartridges and small hand tools.
Given the amounts of merchandise they were stealing, she said, “Obviously, someone was buying it.”
In September, the sheriff’s office and the Fairfax County police searched West’s business and home, as well as a storage unit in Waldorf.
They found stolen property they valued at more than $100,000, including everything from printer cartridges to lawn equipment to breast pumps.
Richardson said West was buying the merchandise at between a quarter and a half of the retail cost, then selling it online.
The statement said West sold about $180,000 of stolen property online.
The Fairfax County police also charged West with illegally possessing a gun they found in his home, the sheriff’s office said.
West has been indicted and is free on bond.
Richardson said officials worked with some of the stores that had been affected. Thanks to bar code technology and inventory control, people were able to scan some of the items and prove who owned what. A lot of the merchandise “was not only recovered but returned.”
The sheriff’s office is asking anyone who knows any more about the case to call them at (301) 609-6484, or call Charles County Crime Solvers anonymously at 1-866-411-TIPS. Tips can also be submitted online at www.charlescountycrimesolvers.com or by using the P3Intel mobile app.