Multi-million dollar crime ring bust in Jefferson County
Organized retail crime in Jefferson County, is a multi-million dollar a year problem, and it's not only taking money away from retailers, it's taking money away from you.
Jefferson County District Attorney Brandon Falls told ABC 33/40 that five people are in custody after a month long organized retail crime ring investigation. He says two more arrests are pending.
During the investigation dubbed "Operation Molten Iron," police in Vestavia Hills and Birmingham seized hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of stolen merchandise, in addition to money and 15 pounds of marijuana.
Falls said what authorities turned up, is something no one expected.
"What we were able to do is secure search warrants for the locations where they were selling the items," Falls said.
Over $300,000 in merchandise was recovered.
If you think this only affects retailers, think again.
Falls says his type of crime costs the average family in Alabama $300 to $500 more per year.
"You still have to make a profit, so eventually the more theft there is, it does affect how things are priced," said retail manager Justin Irvin.
That number doesn't sit well with Jefferson County resident Bryan Roach.
"We're paying taxes plus we're paying for somebody's theft, that is actually too lazy to work, they'd rather steal," Roach said.
Falls says these arrests only scratch the surface of organized retail crime in the area.
"Is there more out there? I'm certain there is, that we have yet to find," Falls said.
He says his office will continue to put a stop to it.
"We're not finished, we were able to put together this operation and it ran very well, ran very smoothly, very few hiccups and we're going to keep doing this," Falls said.