A $7 million shoplifting spree has a family from Illinois facing charges of interstate transportation of stolen property, according to a federal complaint. The family racked up millions in stolen goods over the last ten years, traveling from state to state and absconding with anything they could get their sticky fingers on.
According to MSN Money on Thursday, Branko Bogdanov, 58, his wife Lela Bogdanov, 52, and their 34-year-old daughter, Julia Bogdanov, all from a “posh Chicago suburb stole $7 million in merchandise during a decade long shoplifting spree – traveling to stores nationwide and targeting dolls, toys, cosmetics and other valuables.”
The three allegedly sold their stolen goods on online auction sites like eBay. Investigators said the family would target high-priced items like expensive American Girls dolls, Furby toys and Legos.
Officials said Lela Bogdanov had special clothing that allowed her to conceal the items – a long skirt with a hand-made lining with pouches where she would hide the stolen items.
At times, the skirt “appeared larger and fuller when she exited various retail stores than when she entered” on surveillance video, investigators said, adding that “the amount of merchandise sold often matched the quantities of the same item stolen from stores.”
Barnes and Noble and Toys R Us both sustained huge amounts of merchandise loss as a result of the Bogdanov's actions. Federal agents worked closely with both retailers, as well as with eBay, to track the source of the stolen goods. Bogdanov sold his wares under the fake eBay user name “Franko Kalath.”
Reports ABC News: “The three were arrested earlier this week at their $1.3 million Northbrook home after returning from a three-day trip through Oklahoma, Texas and Louisiana, where authorities say they shoplifted from stores. Working in tandem, the family traveled from their Chicago-area residence to hit businesses in multiple states, including Maryland, Tennessee and Florida, according to the 20-page complaint.”
Head of the Secret Service office in Chicago, Frank P. Benedetto, said large-scale shoplifting hurts both stores and shoppers, who ultimately are forced to pass on their losses to consumer in an attempt to make up for their losses.
“If this type of crime continues unchecked, the costs… will be passed from the retailer to the common shopper,” he said.