Police in Tigard, Oregon have cracked an organized retail crime ring which used stolen gift cards worth three-quarters of a million dollars to buy iPhones bound for the Hong Kong black market.
Tigard Detective T.J. Hahn told the local KOIN 6 News that organized retail theft has become a bigger crime than even drug sales.
“This kind of activity makes millions of millions of dollars, into the billions,” he said.
Tigard police explain that detectives with the department’s commercial crimes unit were at the area’s Washington Square mall, when they noticed a man making purchases at the local Apple Store using a suspiciously large stack of gift cards. When they followed him to his car, they discovered that it was filled with Apple Store bags.
The suspect was later stopped by police who seized more than 470 iPhones with a market value of $290,000+, along with $585,000 worth of gift cards — most likely purchased using counterfeit credit cards.
No arrests have yet been made, but the man and an alleged accomplice are working with police to track down others in the crime ring.