Federal prosecutors believe a Cross Lanes man is responsible for running a massive shoplifting scheme in the Kanawha Valley, making close to $400,000 in sales from stolen goods from local retail stores.
Nedeltcho Vladimirov, a native of Bulgaria, was arrested and charged with money laundering, according to a news release from U.S. Attorney Mike Stuart’s office. Prosecutors say from late 2017 to late 2019, Vladimirov sold at least 3,676 stolen items for a total of $369,818.62.
Vladimirov made the bulk of his sales over the last year, where prosecutors allege he made more than $200,000 from stolen goods.
Vladimirov directed shoplifters, or “boosters,” to steal from area stores, and would then buy the stolen goods in cash from the boosters at a discounted rate, later selling them on the internet, according to the release.
The investigation began after shoplifters were arrested in several South Charleston area stores by Organized Retail Crimes (ORC) investigators from Kroger, CVS Pharmacy and Target Corporation.
“The scale of this shoplifting scheme is extraordinary,” Stuart said in the release. “Consumers pay a heavy toll for shoplifting schemes like this whether through higher prices for consumer goods or the loss of profitability and jobs by the retailers themselves.”
The release credited the United States Secret Service, West Virginia State Police, Bureau of Criminal Investigations, Putnam and Kanawha county sheriff’s departments and South Charleston Police Department, along with ORC investigators and assistance from eBay, Inc, for working to uncover the scheme.
Vladimirov is being held at South Central Regional Jail without bond.