TRENTON – A Hudson County man was sentenced to prison today for leading an organized retail theft ring that targeted approximately 70 Home Depot stores, primarily in New Jersey, but also in New York, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland and Virginia, Attorney General Jeffrey S. Chiesa announced.
Julio Arriola Suarez, 49, of West New York, aka Jimmy R. Alcivar, was sentenced to four years in state prison by Superior Court Judge Robert J. Gilson in Morris County. In addition, Suarez could potentially face deportation on the charges.
Suarez pleaded guilty on Oct. 23 to second-degree shoplifting. Deputy Attorney General Michael J. Rappa prosecuted the case and handled the sentencing for the Division of Criminal Justice Financial & Computer Crimes Bureau.
Suarez was arrested on April 3 in Jersey City. An investigation by the New Jersey Division of Criminal Justice and the United States Secret Service, conducted with assistance from the Home Depot Corporation, determined that Suarez led a ring that committed thefts at multiple Home Depot stores per day, stealing hundreds of dollars in merchandise by “under-ringing” it through self-checkout areas. Three other ring members pleaded guilty in October and were sentenced to jail.
“Organized retail theft is a multi-billion dollar epidemic for retailers across the United States,” said Chiesa. “The prison sentence imposed on this defendant demonstrates our resolve to treat this offense like the serious crime that it is, using the enhanced penalties provided under New Jersey law.”
“By working with retailers and other law enforcement agencies to identify and investigate the criminal groups that are repeatedly targeting retailers, we can take what otherwise might be isolated shoplifting cases, handled in municipal court, and instead build a strong organized retail theft case, as we did here,” said Director Stephen J. Taylor of the Division of Criminal Justice. “We will continue to pursue this type of prosecution against these criminal enterprises.”
The following three men each pleaded guilty to third-degree shoplifting and were sentenced to 364 days in county jail in November by Gilson.
A fifth man who was charged in April in the investigation, Nicolas Arriola Cortez, 49, formerly of Union City, remains a fugitive and is being sought on a warrant.
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