7 crimes that shook the world of retail

  • Retail crime is ubiquitous.
  • But some cases prove to be more eye-catching than others.
  • From an airport iPad heist to a one-woman jewellery thief, here are some standout cases of retail crime.

Retail crime is on the rise.

In 2018, the National Retail Federation estimated that losses from organised retail crime were at “an all time high.” The organisation estimated that this form of crime costs the industry $US777,877 per $US1 billion in sales.

Read more: ‘Serial returners’ are on the rise – and it’s causing headaches for retailers like Walmart and Target

But some cases prove to be a bit more shocking than others.

Whether they involved sensational circumstances or a massive haul of millions of dollars, here are seven retail crimes that shook up the whole industry:


A couple was accused of robbing Safeway of $US5 million.

Justin Sullivan/GettyThe pair stole millions from Safeway.

ABC reported that Richard Remington and Angela Evans were accused of nicking $US5 million worth of goods from different Oregon Safeway stores in 2011. Together, the couple was reportedly seen stealing on camera 178 times.

Cops arrested the pair after a store loss-prevention officer placed a tracking device on their car, according to the Oregonian.


A Stop & Shop owner was charged with using his store to launder millions.

Business Insider/Jessica TylerA Stop & Shop.

Abduhl Sulaiman owned a Stop & Shop in Lexington, Kentucky, but in 2008 he was arrested on charges that he contributed to an illegal retail scheme.

Authorities concluded that Sulaiman also laundered money for a retail theft ring posing as a Kentucky business called Alpha Trading, according to the Lexington Herald Leader.

According to Retail Info Systems, Sulaiman laundered $US60 million through his store.


Robbers made off with thousands of tablets at JFK.

Thieves reportedly made off with thousands of iPads using an airport forklift at John F. Kennedy Airport on November 12, 2012.

And it could have been an inside job. The New York Post reported that the FBI arrested a JFK employee after they learned he had allegedly made “suspicious inquiries to coworkers about the gadget shipment.”

Complex reported that the heist scored robbers $US1.9 million worth of iPad Minis.


Hackers stole the details of millions of credit cards from Target.

Mike Mozart/FlickrThe news was a crushing blow for Target.

Target’s 2013 credit-card hack saw data thieves make off with the credit- and debit-card information of 40 million shoppers.

The fallout from the breach was massive, too. CEO Greg Steinhafel stepped down in 2014,and Target introduced a new, revamped chip-and-PIN credit-card standard.

The New York Times reported that the retailer ended up having to shell out $US18.5 million to 47 different states in 2017 to compensate for the hack.


A gang allegedly stole from Hobby Lobby to supply ‘copycat stores.’

Business Insider/Hayley PetersonA Hobby Lobby.

A gang of thieves in South Carolina was said to have made a hobby out of stealing from their local Hobby Lobby.

The Post and Courier reported that a gang of men, including a store manager, was accused of bilking the store of $US1 million.

According to Retail Info Systems, the stolen goods were funneled into “two copycat stores” for resale.


Police arrested 17 individuals in connection with a San Jose theft ring.

A ring of 17 thieves in San Jose allegedly made a killing off of stealing and reselling products in the early 2000s.

ABC reported that the ring hit Safeway, Walmart, Target, and Walgreens stores in the Bay Area.

The group, run by the Le and Vo crime families, was busted in 2008.

The Mercury News reported that the families would contract with independent shoplifters who would procure name-brand razors and over-the-counter drugs for resale.

Cops seized semi-trucks loaded with $US5.5 million of pilfered merchandise, as well as gold bars and diamonds.


A woman travelled through the American South in disguise, sticking up jewellers along the way.

LancerE/FlickrA Jared store.

Between April 2015 and January 2016, a solo robber hit a slew of Jared Vault, Zales Outlet, and Reeds Jewellers stores throughout the southern US.

According to The Atlanta-Journal Constitution, the stick-ups all followed a similar playbook. Abigail Kemp was accused of pulling a gun on store employees, zip-tying them in the back room, and stealing watches and jewellery.

But Kemp might not have been acting alone.

Larry and Michael Gilmore and Lewis Jones were accused of orchestrating the plot and providing Kemp with training, disguises, and instructions on which jewels to swipe, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

In total, Kemp was charged with stealing over $US4 million worth of jewels before the ring was busted.

Are you a retail employee who’s experienced in-store crime firsthand? Email [email protected]

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