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Florida Cops Bust Blu-ray Theft Ring

6 Aug, 2009 By: Chris Tribbey

Special agents with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) busted a long-running Blu-ray Disc theft scam in Central Florida Aug. 4, making three arrests in a retail theft ring that had stolen more than $1 million worth of product.

Gregory Marinitz, 41, was charged with dealing in stolen property, an organized scheme to defraud, and dealing in stolen property by use of the Internet. James Davidson, 37, and Tina Pallay, 35, were each charged with one count of organized scheme to defraud.

Since 2005 the trio had been allegedly walking into Circuit City, Barnes & Noble, Target and Borders stores, and walking out with Blu-rays, audio books and other media, and then allegedly selling the products at discount prices on eBay.

“Basically they would go into these stores and they would use these bags that would trick the [anti-theft] censors,” said FDLE spokeswoman Kristen Perezluha. “When we arrested the ringleader (Marinitz) we found a lot more at his home.”

The trio allegedly used “booster bags” lined with material that thwarted anti-theft devices on home media product, and would stuff baggy clothing with Blu-rays during their alleged thefts.

Borders first came to law enforcement officials with information regarding the thefts in the spring of 2008, Perezluha said, and surveillance footage will be used against the trio. Working with eBay, the FDLE estimates that Marinitz grossed more than $300,000 from the thefts.

When serving a search warrant, FDLE agents found $150,000 worth of stolen product at Marinitz’s home. He was booked at the Orange County Jail on $10,000 bond.

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