Multi-Million Dollar Target Store Theft Ring Busted

September 16th, 2009 by

ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. — State agents busted a retail theft ring that they say is responsible for stealing more than $1 million from local Target stores. The thieves, officers say, took high-dollar items such as I-pods, computer programs and even breast pumps.

Most of the accused crooks arrested from the theft ring were women. The crooks switched bar codes to buy expensive items for cheap prices, not only in Central Florida but also in other towns.

Lynda Regis shops at Target several times a week and says she’s always looking for a bargain.

“Most of my shopping at Target is when they do have specials,” she said.

However, she’s not getting the deal she would have last year or the year before and law enforcers say it’s because of the women and their ring leader Bradley Prucha.

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement arrested the group who are accused of an elaborate scheme that raked in $500,000 per year for Prucha and cost the Target Company millions in losses.

The group is accused of using real barcodes for $3 and $4 items and placing them over the barcode of hard drives, m-p-3 players, Turbo Tax and breast pumps.

“Breast pumps were $250, $300, a highly sought after item sold on EBay for a substantially lower price,” FDLE investigator Mike Giddens said.

Agents say the group operated for three years, stealing thousands of items worth millions of dollars and even had an associate in New York.

State investigators have arrested Bradley, his mother, sister and girlfriend. They are searching for an associate; an ex-girlfriend and another woman who helped pull off the scam.

The ring of accused crooks are not only facing theft charges, the suspects will also be charged with racketeering and are being held on a half-million dollar bond.

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