Court papers obtained by 11 News Tuesday, outline how a lucrative crime ring operated in Colorado Springs. The ring was busted Friday after authorities served warrants at two different locations in the Springs that morning.
Police confirmed they arrested five people Friday. Those people will be charged under the organized crime laws of Colorado, which is a felony charge. The charges come after a four-month investigation in which local police worked with stores like Home Depot, Safeway and the Colorado Retail Council.
Police say 'boost crews' around Colorado Springs and neighboring areas would bring their shoplifted goods to Clay Schaner, who was arrested today. Schaner operated Just Computers, a storefront on Platte Avenue, as a front for the crime ring.
Police say Schaner would then sell the items, mainly through eBay. They estimate he made close to $1.3 million selling these stolen goods. In fact, the court papers outline Schaner had a team of shoplifters who would steal a bunch of items, return them, and get a store credit on a gift card. Schaner would then reportedly buy those gift cards from the shoplifters at half price and then sell those cards on Ebay for 80% of the value. In one month, the ring reportedly made more than $88,000.
On Friday, 11 search warrants were executed, five warrants for financial records and additional warrants for web based service records. Clayton Schaner, Clinton Schaner, Caleb Butler, Tommie Bradley & James Driscoll were all arrested as a result.
Charges against those five include Colorado Organized Crime Control Act/Prohibited Activities, Money Laundering, Theft by Receiving, and Possession of a Weapon by a Previous Offender, Conspiracy and Theft Detection Devices.
Police say that they recovered tens of thousands of dollars in stolen property and they are currently compiling a full inventory in the hopes of returning the property to the rightful owners.
The investigation is ongoing and police expect to make more arrests of those involved in the crime ring. As of Tuesday night, the suspects arrested, remain in jail and the accused leader, Clay Schaner is being held without bond.
Friday afternoon police made more arrests at the storefront on Platte Avenue. Seven additional arrests were made, but police say those people are not immediately involved in the crime ring. They were arrested on a standing warrant at the business on Platte because of the owner's involvement with the ring.
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