City of Palmdale logoIn a major victory against organized retail theft, detectives from the Los Angeles County Sheriff Department Major Crimes Bureau’s Organized Retail Theft Taskforce (ORCTF) have successfully shut down an illegal fencing operation, arresting the suspects and recovering stolen merchandise.

“I commend the swift and effective action taken by LASD’s Organized Retail Theft Task Force in dismantling this illicit operation,” said Palmdale Mayor Austin Bishop. “Our community’s safety is of utmost importance, and the recovery of stolen merchandise sends a clear message that criminal activities will not be tolerated in Palmdale.”

The investigation began after a series of retail thefts occurred between December 14, 2023, and January 7, 2024, targeting popular retailers, including Home Depot, Lowes, Target and Walmart throughout the Antelope Valley. Detectives identified a coordinated crew of four suspects responsible for the thefts who were operating a “fence” at an address on 94th Street East in Littlerock. A “fence” operation refers to dealings in stolen goods. A fence will pay a below-market price for the stolen goods and then attempt to resell them and make a large profit.

During the execution of search warrants, law enforcement officers seized a significant amount of stolen merchandise, totaling approximately $300,000. The recovered items included tools, yard equipment, generators, clothing, A/C compressors and various other goods stolen from the victim retailers. Additionally, two handguns (9mm and .45 caliber) were confiscated during the operation.

“As a city council member, I am pleased to witness the diligent efforts of LASD’s Organized Retail Theft Task Force in successfully tackling this issue head-on,” said Palmdale Mayor Pro Tem Richard J. Loa. “This operation exemplifies the importance of collaborative law enforcement in safeguarding our local businesses and community members.”

The suspects were charged with organized retail theft (490.4(a)(1) PC) and grand theft (487(a) PC). Two face additional charges for being felons in possession of a firearm (29800(a)1 PC), while the ringleader was also charged with operating a fence operation (490.4(a)(4) PC).

The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department formed the ORCTF in September 2023. Operating out of LASD’s Major Crimes Bureau, the task force is dedicated to investigating, identifying and apprehending individuals involved in organized retail crimes. Additionally, the ORCTF provides public outreach assistance for local communities, businesses, retail associations and chambers of commerce to address organized retail crime concerns.

If anyone has information related to this case or possesses information about organized retail theft crimes, please contact the ORCTF at or 562/946-7270.