Four members of a Polish Gypsy family living in Chicago have been charged with being part of a nationwide retail theft ring that hit four states and robbed stores of some $3 million in merchandise, the Torrance Police Department said.
The family members suspected of being involved in the robbery ring are Ausra Bauzinskaite, 34; Adeliya Nassybullina, 30; Lukasz Karasinski, 37; and Przemyslaw Skiba, 31. All of those arrested are originally from Poland but live in Chicago, according to the department.
Torrance police were able to link the four Gypsies to a commercial burglary in the city and subsequently connected them to 17 other commercial burglaries throughout Los Angeles and Orange County.
“Upon identifying and tracking these individuals, Torrance investigators determined that the group was an organized retail theft ring that had victimized stores throughout the country in the states of California, Colorado, Washington and Florida,” the police department said in a statement.
The Gypsies’ modus operandi involved the male members putting the goods into an area of the store where the women would then conceal the merchandise under their oversized dresses and overcoats, according to the department.
On March 7, the Torrance Police Department located the suspected robbers in nearby Hawthorne, Calif. The four gypsy family members were in town for a Santa Monica, Calif., court appearance for a previous retail theft, the department said.
Investigators with the Torrance Police Department conducted surveillance on the four suspected robbers and discovered them stealing from Apple Stores in Los Angeles and Orange counties, police said. The Gypsy family then allegedly tried to mail the merchandise out of state, but police arrested them before the products could be mailed. Police said more than $20,000 worth of Apple products were recovered during the arrests.
The Gypsy family allegedly admitted to committing the thefts so they could pay off a $2 million debt.
Police investigators claimed the Chicago gypsies stole more than $3 million in merchandise since 2009 and robbed retail stores that included Apple, Best Buy, Costco, Microsoft, PetSmart, Sams Club, Sports Authority and Walmart.
“This case is a small step in uncovering numerous other related conspirators and retail victims,” said Torrance Police Department spokesman Sgt. Robert Watt. “At first look, the thefts appeared as singular crimes that occur every day to the retail industry, but when thoroughly analyzed, investigators were able to uncover the magnitude of the crimes being committed by this group. Investigators are optimistic that this arrest will lead to additional evidence in this ongoing investigation.”