UPDATE 10/13/2023: The Lyon's Police Department has released the names of the two men involved in the $5 million sneaker heist in west side Chicago that uncovered a treasure trove of stolen Jordans, Nikes, and Yeezys and other goods. Aguirre-Ramirez and Lujano-Bautista are both being charged with burglary. Lujano-Bautista is also charged with possession of stolen property. Both are class 2 felonies.
Lyons Police Department surveillance revealed Bautista, Ramirez, and some other unnamed suspects unloading/loading the stolen goods. According to NBC Chicago, 3 other unnamed suspects have been taken into custody but were later released. More charges are expected to be coming in the near future. Lyons PD is working with law enforcement nationwide to make connections to the string of sneaker thefts that have been happening across the nation. Chief Herion of LPD has gone on the record stating that this case "...could go as far as California and North Carolina." Stay tuned for additional information as this case develops.
In recent times, the retail and shipping industry has become a prime target for theft, with sneakers, in particular, becoming hot commodities for criminals. The latest development in this string of robberies of Nikes, Jordans, and Yeezys, and other hype sneakers has emerged from Chicago. CBS 2 Chicago reports that ~$5 million in sneakers and other merchandise has been uncovered in a west side Chicago warehouse.
Digging deeper into the operation, it was revealed by the authorities that these goods were swiped from rail cars from various parts of the country. These stolen goods were then transported to this specific Chicago warehouse, ready to be funneled into the market and sold to unsuspecting retailers.
The wheels of justice began to turn when the Lyons Police Department was tipped off following a cargo theft report just last week. Elaborating on the modus operandi of the culprits, Lyons Police Chief Tom Heroin told CBS, "What they would do is they'd commit these cargo thefts, like from Memphis, Tennessee. They'd re-label it, and they would ship it here. They would unpackage it, repackage it, and it's a 100% markup, because they got it all for nothing."
As shocking as it might sound, reports have indicated a staggering 63% increase in supply chain theft during the first half of 2023 compared to last year.
Memphis has notably been the scene of multiple high-profile thefts. In just one year, it witnessed a heist at a Nike store with merchandise valued at $200K, a train yard theft of $400K, and a grand theft in September 2022, where $800K worth of goods were stolen. But these pale in comparison to the whopping $7 million in stolen goods that were recovered in Los Angeles this past June.
Two individuals connected with this operation have already been arrested and charged. The police department has announced a full press conference scheduled for later this week, promising to share more intricate details on this audacious case.
The escalating frequency of these thefts indicates a troubling trend in the retail industry, particularly in the realm of footwear. It underscores the need for tighter security measures and a robust response from law enforcement agencies to deter potential criminals. This discovery in Chicago might be the tip of the iceberg, and stakeholders at every level of the supply chain must be on high alert.
Lyons Police Department Uncovered $5 Million In Stolen Sneakers Warehouse In Chicago