TAMARAC, Fla. – Two people were arrested Tuesday morning during a raid at a pawn shop in Tamarac, Broward Sheriff's Office spokeswoman Veda Coleman-Wright confirmed in a news release.
According to the spokeswoman, detectives executed a search warrant at Richie's Pawn Shop, which is located at 5227 N. State Road 7.
"Today's arrests mark the culmination of a year-long investigation into an organized retail crime operation where the suspects knowingly sold stolen merchandise," Coleman-Wright said in the news release. "Investigators dubbed the operation 'Getting Rich' as a spin on the name of the pawn shop, Richie's Pawn."
The two employees arrested Tuesday face numerous felony counts of organized dealing in stolen property.
According to detectives, BSO partnered with retailers like Home Depot, CVS, Target and Publix, which all had items stolen and then sold to the pawn shop.
"Organized retail crime (ORC) is a serious and growing problem for all retailers," a Home Depot spokeswoman said in a statement. "The Home Depot has dedicated ORC investigators and asset protection staff who worked on this case with law enforcement for over a year. We're grateful to partner with the Broward County Sheriff's Office to shut down this ORC operation."
Investigators said the owners of the pawn shop ironically also run rehab facilities, yet many of the people their employees were buying stolen merchandise from are drug addicts.
"Richie's Pawn Shop kind of came onto our radar as a result of organized retail crime. Organized retail crime is that of professional shoplifters -- professional shoplifters who go out day in, day out stealing from retail establishments throughout the area," Sgt. Rich Rossman, of the BSO Criminal Investigation Unit, said. "We started getting a lot of intel, doing a lot of interviews and everybody (was) telling us that a lot of the product that they were stealing was coming to Richie's Pawn Shop."
Deputies said another arrest is pending and the owners of the pawn shop are also under investigation.
Detectives believe more than half of the items from the pawn shop had been stolen from retailers.