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Suspected ringleader of $8M beauty product retail theft ring charged, AG Bonta says

San Francisco police tout success of holiday blitz on retail crime
San Francisco police tout success of holiday blitz on retail crime 03:21

The suspected leader of a retail theft ring that stole $8 million in beauty products from stores across California has been charged, Attorney General Rob Bonta announced Friday.

"Today, we are addressing an audacious instance of organized retail theft and making it clear that such criminal activity will not be accepted in California," Bonta said. "As the leading law enforcement official in our state, my dedication lies in actively pursuing and bringing to justice those who violate the law. Ending crime is a team effort."

According to Bonta's office, the unidentified woman paid more than seven people to steal items from Ulta Beauty stores and other retail outlets. The woman would then sell the stolen cosmetics on her Amazon storefront.

The thefts took place at Ulta Beauty stores and other retail outlets in 21 California counties, including Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Napa, Santa Clara, San Mateo, Solano and Sonoma.

Beauty products that authorities said were stolen by a retail theft ring responsible for $8 million in thefts from 21 counties in California. California Attorney General's Office

Authorities said a search of the ringleader's residence yielded "large amounts" of makeup was found.

An inventory of beauty products recovered from residences connected to the scheme was also conducted. Representatives from Ulta Beauty and Sephora assisted in conducting inventory and estimated the value of the recovered items to be $400,000.

According to Bonta, the total loss from the multi-year theft operation is estimated at more than $7.8 million.

Along with the suspected ringleader, the people suspected of stealing the items have been charged in the case as well. Their identities have not been released.

Charges include organized retail theft, conspiracy, receipt of stolen property and multiple counts of grand theft, the Attorney General's office said.

Multiple agencies took part in the investigation, including the California Department of Justice, California Highway Patrol, Department of Homeland Security and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, along with representatives from the retailers.

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