Attorney General Kris Mayes today Thursday the result of a six-month long joint investigation by the Organized Retail Theft Task Force. Local and state investigators seized more than 3,200 cans of baby formula, more than 1200 cloned Supplemental Nutrition Assistance (SNAP) Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) cards, skimming devices, and equipment used to manufacture fraudulent EBT cards. More than 2,700 individual victims lost over $1.2 million in stolen SNAP benefits.
“Those participating in organized retail theft are on notice that in Arizona, their organizations will be disrupted, they will be apprehended, and they will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law,” said Attorney General Kris Mayes. “Organized retail theft and fraud harms all of us, from the victims themselves to regular Arizonans facing increased prices that result from theft. I want to thank our state agency and law enforcement partners, as well as our retail partners, for their support and work on this investigation.”
AG Mayes was joined by representatives from the Arizona Retailers Association, Kroger, Walmart, and Target, along with representatives from the Arizona Department of Economic Security, Gilbert Police Department, and the US Department of Agriculture. Phoenix Police Department also participated in the investigation.
“We are grateful for the efforts of the Attorney General and members of this task force to help protect critical assistance for DES clients,” said DES Director Angie Rodgers. “SNAP is a lifeline for hundreds of thousands of Arizonans, and DES will continue to investigate all reported instances of EBT card skimming in partnership with the federal government and other law enforcement agencies.”
“On behalf of the members of the Arizona Retailers Association I want to express our gratitude to all that participated in this case,” said Michelle Ahlmer, Executive Director of the Arizona Retailer’s Association. “This partnership between law enforcement, prosecutors, state agencies and retailers, demonstrates the very best in coordinated efforts that result in increased safety for our communities.”
“The Gilbert Police Department is committed to combatting organized retail theft and is appreciative of the partnership between our local and state agencies who worked together to identify and locate the suspects in this investigation who victimized businesses and residents within our communities,” said Gilbert Police Department.
The investigation is ongoing.