On the Site:


Utah AG’s office asks for help finding suspects in elaborate retail theft ring

Sep 14, 2023, 11:32 PM | Updated: Sep 15, 2023, 6:27 am

SALT LAKE CITY — The Utah Attorney General’s Office is asking for the public’s help to bust an organized crime ring across the Wasatch Front. The group is stealing thousands of dollars of merchandise from stores, in a crime that ultimately trickles down to shoppers.

Sitting in his office, special agent Steve Jensen pours over hours of surveillance. The videos come from different retail stores across Utah.

In one video, Jensen pointed out a man in a bright green shirt casually walking out of a store with a cart loaded to the brim with small brown boxes that he didn’t pay for.

“We see here this guy walks out with a bunch of circuit breakers from one of our local retailers,” Jensen said, narrating what’s shown in the video.

The man appears to know what he’s doing and has probably done this before, Jensen explained, with how calm he stays and how smoothly he steals all the products.

It’s Jensen’s job to find shoplifting cases like that one and piece them together, seeing if the suspects look the same and tracking what they steal from multiple stores across the span of months.

Looking at an elaborate timeline he made, Jensen explained the work that went into taking down a recent complex retail theft ring.

“This was an incident where we were able to show that entire organization, from start to finish — when the item is stolen, when it is then moved, and then finally to the final sale,” he said.

This photo shows just part of what the CASE Strike Force recovered during a recent bust (CASE Strike Force)

Jensen is on the Utah Attorney General’s Office Crimes Against Statewide Economy Strike Force, which appropriately goes by CASE. And in each case, he said they’ll arrest several people involved in these organized crime rings. He shared pictures of busts they made, recovering thousands of dollars worth of stolen merchandise.

“A lot of times it happens to be retailers as far as clothing, apparel, shoes, something that they can try to make a quick dollar on,” he said. “And it’s an easy crime to commit in their eyes.”
There’s one case Jensen is hoping the public can help crack, and the CASE Strike Force is sharing surveillance photos in hopes that Utahns will recognize the people involved.

He pulled the photos up on his computer.

“This particular group that we’re looking at has been to at least a half dozen stores, and we suspect more,” he said, looking at the photos.

The Strike Force believes the same man is walking into stores like Burlington with different women, then walking out with a shopping cartload of merchandise. They’ve done this in Salt Lake, Utah and Davis counties.

“They’re targeting more athletic wear, men’s or women’s clothing and shoes,” Jensen said. “And then they would turn around, most likely, and sell this stuff for profit. And unfortunately, many of our clothing retailers up along the Wasatch Front have become victim to this.”

The Utah Attorney General’s Office CASE Strike Force is looking for these people in connection to an elaborate retail theft ring across the Wasatch Front. (CASE Strike Force)

And while the dollar amount stolen so far adds up to about $5,000, Jensen explained that the impact goes much further on an economic level, manifesting in different ways.

According to the latest numbers from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, in one year, thieves stole just under $475 million in goods from Utah businesses.

But the impact of that retail crime actually cost those businesses nearly $1.3 billion. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce lists lost product costs, higher insurance costs, increased price of goods and unrealized wages as part of the cost.

The chamber also estimates that in one year, retail crime causes about a $91 million loss in tax revenue.

Jensen said this kind of crime trickles down to shoppers.

“We want to select something, and it’s locked up, or we go to the register and the price is a little bit higher than we expected,” he said. “Eventually those things will circle back and affect you and I.”

That’s why he wants to know if anyone recognizes the people in the surveillance photos they released. The sooner he can take down this latest organized retail theft ring, the better for businesses, consumers and Utah’s economy.

“It is important to stop this because this affects a lot of people,” he said. “It affects our community, and it’s becoming a problem for us.”

Special Agent Steve Jensen goes through surveillance photos of theft ring suspects at his desk. (KSL TV)

KSL 5 TV Live

Local News

(ATF Denver Field Division)...

Pat Reavy, KSL.com

Reward offered in Cedar City stolen firearms investigation

A reward is being offered in connection with a stolen firearms investigation in southern Utah.

3 minutes ago

Kevin Franke and his attorneys walk into a conference room following a juvenile court hearing on Se...

Pat Reavy, KSL.com

Husband of YouTube vlogger Ruby Franke files for divorce

The husband of the popular "8 Passengers" YouTube channel vlogger has filed for divorce nearly three months after his wife Ruby Franke was charged with abusing their children.

3 hours ago

In the moment they feel like small purchases, right? An ornament here. A stocking stuffer there. A ...

Matt Gephardt

How you can avoid holiday debt despite the pressure to spend

In the moment they feel like small purchases, right? An ornament here. A stocking stuffer there. A last-minute office gift. But all this can quickly add up to a financial holiday hangover. And perhaps it’s one you’re still feeling from the last holiday season.

11 hours ago

The inversion as seen from Salt Lake City on Nov. 29, 2023. (Jack Grimm, KSL TV)...

Debbie Worthen and Mary Culbertson, KSL TV

Utah leaders face uphill battle on clean air before 2034 Olympic Games

Part of Utah's agreement with IOC requires clean air for the Olympic Games in 2034 if Salt Lake is to host. Leaders have ambitious plans for the next decade in attempt to make it happen.

11 hours ago

A picture of Powder, the official Olympic mascot in 2002, who was played by Heather Mickey, picture...

Mary Culbertson and Andrew Adams, KSL TV

2002 Olympic mascot reflects on her time as Powder after big announcement

An official Olympic mascot looks back on her time during the Games in 2002, and talks about what excites her for 2034.

11 hours ago

American Preparatory Academy on Nov. 29 after it was evacuated for carbon monoxide fumes found in t...

Mary Culbertson and Lauren Steinbrecher, KSL TV

Potentially 45 preschoolers and 10 adults exposed to carbon monoxide at American Prep Academy

Five toddlers and five adults were taken to the hospital after being exposed to carbon monoxide at American Preparatory Academy.

13 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

Stylish room interior with beautiful Christmas tree and decorative fireplace...

Lighting Design

Create a Festive Home with Our Easy-to-Follow Holiday Prep Guide

Get ready for festive celebrations! Discover expert tips to prepare your home for the holidays, creating a warm and welcoming atmosphere for unforgettable moments.

Battery low message on mobile device screen. Internet and technology concept...

PC Laptops

9 Tips to Get More Power Out of Your Laptop Battery

Get more power out of your laptop battery and help it last longer by implementing some of these tips from our guide.

Users display warnings about the use of artificial intelligence (AI), access to malicious software ...

Les Olson

How to Stay Safe from Cybersecurity Threats

Read our tips for reading for how to respond to rising cybersecurity threats in 2023 and beyond to keep yourself and your company safe.

Design mockup half in white and half in color of luxury house interior with open plan living room a...

Lighting Design

Lighting Design 101: Learn the Basics

These lighting design basics will help you when designing your home, so you can meet both practical and aesthetic needs.

an antler with large horns int he wilderness...

Three Bear Lodge

Yellowstone in the Fall: A Wildlife Spectacle Worth Witnessing

While most people travel to this park in the summer, late fall in Yellowstone provides a wealth of highlights to make a memorable experience.

a diverse group of students raising their hands in a classroom...

Little Orchard Preschool

6 Benefits of Preschool for Kids

Some of the benefits of preschool for kids include developing independence, curiosity, and learning more about the world.

Utah AG’s office asks for help finding suspects in elaborate retail theft ring