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Million-dollar shoplifting ring busted in Colorado Springs

By Jaclyn Rostie, Reporter, j.rostie@krdo.com
Published On: Mar 22 2013 11:56:10 PM CDT

CSPD said a intricate shoplifting ring may have been shipping stolen goods through sites like eBay for the last night four years.

In November 2012, detectives from the Stetson Hills Division’s Property Crimes Unit developed information that stolen property was being sold to a business.  The business was identified as Just Computers, located at 2506 E. Platte Ave. Property being sold included items shoplifted from retail stores, property stolen from motor vehicles and property stolen during home and business burglaries.

 In December 2012, coordination of the investigation began through the efforts of the Colorado Springs Police Department, El Paso County Sheriff’s Office, Fountain Police Department, El Paso County District Attorney’s Office, the Safeway Corporation, Home Depot and the United States Postal Service.

This investigation revealed that Just Computers, under the direction of owner, Clay Schaner, would receive stolen property to include retail gift cards, and then re-sell the items mainly on Ebay.  Their investigation revealed that over a four year period, Mr. Schaner conducted over $1.3 million in Ebay sales.

The investigation also revealed that Mr. Schaner was the primary conduit for disposing of stolen property in Colorado Springs as well as suspects travelling from Castle Rock, Denver and Pueblo to conduct sales. The merchandise stolen from retail outlets was the result of organized “crews” of shoplifters; this aspect of the operation is still under investigation.

Mr. Schaner was working in conjunction with at least three other individuals to include his son, Clinton Schaner. These individuals conspired to receive, sell and package for delivery, the stolen items taken in and sold on Ebay. Items were shipped all over the USA and there is indication of international sales as well. Evidence obtained established that this was an organized criminal enterprise and the investigation will conclude with the anticipated filing of all charges under the Colorado Organized Crime Control Act.

Earlier today (Friday), 11 search warrants were executed at specific locations; 5 warrants for financial records and additional warrants for web based service records.  Arrested during the take-downs were: Clayton Schaner, Clinton Schaner, Caleb Butler, Tommie Bradley & James Driscoll.

Charges include Colorado Organized Crime Control Act/Prohibited Activities {F2}, Money Laundering {F3}, Theft by Receiving {F3}, Possession of a Weapon by a Previous Offender {F6}, Conspiracy {F6} and Theft Detection Devices {M6}.

Literally tens of thousands of dollars worth of stolen property was recovered today.  We won’t have a total until investigators complete an inventory list.

Further arrests are anticipated but those individuals will not be identified at this time.

This criminal organization provided a lucrative market for the disposal of stolen property as well as providing an incentive for persons to commit property crimes. It has been determined, through interviews and a thorough investigation that the primary motivator for persons doing business with Just Computers was to finance their drug habits.

This was a very complex and extensive investigation relying on the partnership between several area law enforcement agencies and the various private retail organizations.

Investigators are working to identify the owners of the recovered property and return it to them.  If the public’s assistance is needed to identify the rightful owners, investigators will do so through a future Press Release.  Please do not call asking if your items have been recovered.

 

 

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