The scheme federal investigators unraveled across the Charlotte area was worth $16 million.
Chopper 9 was there in 2011 when federal agents raided a home on Tryon Courthouse Road in Bessemer City. Eyewitness News saw agents use bolt cutters to get into storage sheds on the back of the property.
By Thursday night, all six suspects from across the Charlotte area had been sentenced. They'll be getting anywhere from a year and a half to seven years in federal prison. Plus, they'll have to pay back millions.
In the paperwork federal prosecutors sent to Eyewitness News, they finally revealed what agents were after on that property in Bessemer City.
This was a complex retail theft ring, focusing on over-the-counter drugs and beauty supplies, items that are small and easy to steal but expensive.
Investigators explained how this type of theft works. There are so-called “boosters” who shoplift the goods. Then they sell them to middlemen. That's who the suspects in this case were. They remove price tags and security tags and resell them for cash to more middlemen, who eventually sell the stolen goods to retail stores.
While the multimillion-dollar crime ring has now been shut down, there are other rings like it still out there. The Congressional Research Service estimates the annual economic loss from organized retail crime is between $15 and $37 billion.