Leader of shoplifting ring faces four-year prison sentence

A man suspected of stealing more than $100,000 worth of merchandise from 70 Home Depot stores pled guilty on Oct. 23 to a charge of organized retail theft in a Morristown, N.J. Superior Court, according to an article in the Daily Record.

Julio Arriola Suarez, 49, will face a four-year sentence at a Dec. 14 hearing as the result of his guilty plea, according to the article. He was charged with leading a group of four other men who stole items from Home Depot stores throughout New Jersey and in New York, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland and Virginia between 2011 and April 2012, when the suspects were arrested.

According to prosecutors, the shoplifting ring hit several Home Depot stores a day, “under-ringing” items through self-checkout and using various tactics to hide their activities from security cameras and store workers. Home Depot’s Central Investigation Team aided the New Jersey Attorney General’s Office and local police authorities in breaking up the retail theft enterprise.

Suarez, a suspected undocumented immigrant from Central America, remains in custody. Three other men in the ring already pleaded guilty to third-degree shoplifting. A fifth suspect is a fugitive. 

The three defendants who previously admitted to shoplifting face sentences in November of 364 days in the Morris County jail and probation.


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