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First Coast

Operation Loot And Scoot Busts Jacksonville Shoplifting Ring

Jacksonville Sheriff Mike Williams Tuesday announced the breakup of a major shoplifting ring following a nearly two year undercover operation dubbed Loot and Scoot.

“The officers were initially contacted by representatives from Walmart, Target and Winn Dixie in reference to a group of individuals who were stealing health, beauty and office supplies,” said Williams.

JSO News Conference Video

Williams said eight people have been arrested so far, including alleged ring leader Anton Arbaji.

“He would recruit shoplifters to recruit specific items and he would pay them anywhere from 10-dollars an item, or 20%, of what they brought in. Arbaji would then sell the stolen items through multiple internet sites that he maintained,” Williams said.

The ring is believed to have stolen around $500,000 of merchandise.

Arbaji and six other accused ring members face federal racketeering charges in addition to numerous other felony and misdemeanor theft charges.

Contact reporter Cyd Hoskinson at choskinson@wjct.org, 904-358-6351 and on Twitter @cydwjctnews.