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Baltimore Women Convicted in Large Retail Theft Scheme

June 13th, 2019 by WCBC Radio

Maryland Attorney General Brian E. Frosh today announced that Lisa M. Williams, 55 and Lyric McLaughlin, 23, both of Baltimore, pled guilty and were convicted of conspiracy to commit a retail theft scheme of $100,000 or more.  Baltimore City Circuit Court Judge Yolanda Tanner sentenced McLaughlin to four years incarceration; Williams will be sentenced on July 24th. 

According to information presented in court, from January 2017 through June 2017, Williams, McLaughlin, and others engaged in an organized retail theft scheme targeting retailers of clothing and accessories, including L Brands (Victoria’s Secret and PINK), Dick’s Sporting Goods, Hollister, Luxottica (Sunglass Hut, Lens Crafters and Pearle Vision), True Religion, JC Penney and Ulta.

McLaughlin and others would enter retail stores together, select large quantities of merchandise from store displays, conceal the items in large bags, and then leave the store without paying.  The scheme occurred in counties across Maryland, with losses totaling more than $100,000.  Williams and McLaughlin used Instagram as an online marketplace to advertise and sell stolen merchandise; discuss prices and brands; and provide instructions regarding how and where to purchase the items.  Purchasers were often directed to the home of Williams in East Baltimore to buy merchandise.

In June 2017, Maryland State Police executed a search warrant at Williams’s home and recovered 99 boxes of accessories and clothing, many of which had price tags and security sensors still attached.  Also recovered was the cell phone of Williams, which contained images and texts relating to the theft and sale of the stolen merchandise.

“These two women participated in an organized scheme to steal thousands of dollars’ worth of goods,” said Attorney General Frosh.  “They walked into stores, stuffed their bags with luxury items and just walked out.  The thefts and subsequent sales were brazen and numerous.  Honest businesses can take comfort in the fact that we will prosecute and shut down theft rings like this one.”

The case was investigated and prosecuted by the Criminal Investigations Division of the Maryland Attorney General’s Office and the Maryland State Police, Criminal Enforcement Division, with assistance from the Office of the State Prosecutor, the Baltimore County State’s Attorney’s Office, Montgomery County State’s Attorney’s Office, and Anne Arundel County State’s Attorney’s Office.

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