A criminal case in West Virginia is a reminder that when something seems to good to be true, there’s often a hidden reason. In this particular case, the reason involved shoplifting and drug addiction.
A West Virginia man has been accused of organizing a ring of 15 to 20 shoplifters, who for two years allegedly stole a total of $370,000 in merchandise from grocery stores and pharmacies. The organizer is accused of paying the shoplifters relatively small amounts of cash for the items and then reselling them on the internet.
The suspect, who is charged with money laundering, is believed to have taken in more than $200,000 from the scheme. But what’s even worse is that the shoplifters were drug addicts, who naturally used their cash payments to feed their habit.
In announcing the arrest, the U.S. attorney in Charleston warned customers of websites like eBay and Facebook Marketplace that when they buy products at exceptionally low prices, they may be purchasing stolen goods. In this case, online buyers eager for cheap stuff were encouraging both shoplifting and drug addiction.