GRESHAM, Ore. (KOIN) – Police arrested a woman in connection with an organized retail crime operation that resulted in the loss of thousands of dollars in merchandise from Safeway.
Meagan Bradley, 27, was booked into the Multnomah County Detention Center earlier this month after being arrested by Gresham police. Hours later, the jail released her on her own recognizance and told her to appear in court.
Also this month, a Multnomah County grand jury handed up a 17-count indictment against Bradley. She is accused of selling product that she knew was stolen from Safeway.
Investigators with Albertsons-Safeway and the Northwest Organized Retail Crime Alliance said Bradley was selling items like Pepcid Complete, electric toothbrush heads, vitamins, Nasacort, Allegra, Zyrtec and Flonase.
Police said it’s common for suspected thieves to steal those types of items because they’re popular and have a high re-sale value on the black market.
KOIN 6 News has learned the total amount recovered in the Bradley case was more than $32,000.
According to the indictment, Bradley was selling the stolen items from November 2017 through February 2018.
Designer clothing, razors, infant formula, laundry detergent, teeth whitening strips and allergy medicine were identified as some of the most common items taken and then illicitly sold, according to a 2017 study conducted by the National Retail Federation.
Because of the recent increase in organized retail crime in the area, law enforcement and retailers have joined forces to go after the suspected thieves. Nationally, ORC is a $30 billion problem. The National Retail Federation believes successfully combating ORC requires a concerted effort across retailers, law enforcement, and legislatures.
Retailers told KOIN 6 News they are especially concerned when thieves steal medicine and other items that have expiration dates on them.
Several years ago, Portland police arrested a man stealing meat from Safeway. At the time, he was storing the meat unrefrigerated in a backpack.
Retailers said they’re struggling to stop organized theft. When stores see large amounts of theft occur, they are forced to re-stock the items so paying customers have access to the merchandise, but that creates more supply for the thieves.
Law enforcement said people should think twice about buying items online from third-parties that are offering steep discounts. If considering making a purchase, buyers should ask if the items were stolen or ask for proof of purchases. By purchasing stolen items, people are often supporting drug habits, according to police.
Police said their investigation into Bradley’s alleged operation is ongoing.
KOIN 6 News reached Bradley by phone on multiple occasions and she said she wanted to tell her story, but never called back.