(WHAS11) -- Police are cracking down on members of an organized crime ring they say are ripping off big box stores and then returning stolen goods for merchandise.
Police have cited more than 40 suspects and believe just as many are still operating.
One of the key suspects was charged earlier this week with stealing more than $18,000 from Home Depot since November.
Investigators say others are believed to have taken as much as $30,000 during that time period.
“They come in and they're so blatant about it, and it's just one after another,” said a former Home Depot employee we’ll call “Jane”.
“They'll be returning things that they stole from $200 to $700. And you'll have that happening 20 to 25 times a day. So if you add that up and add the number of box stores, it gets really immense,” said Jane.
Jane says the thieves would take small items with big price tags, like drill bits and electronics, then bring the merchandise back for refunds.
Even though they had no receipt, the suspects would get store credit.
Veascus Ray was arrested Wednesday for allegedly stealing more than $18,000 worth of merchandise from Home Depot.
A police report says he cashed in the goods for gift cards which he sold at Action Cards on Preston Highway.
Police say he received about $11,000 from the store for those cards over a three-month period.
Investigators say Action Cards paid suspects 62-to-65 percent of the value of the cards, which the business sold to third parties for 80 percent of their value.
Eventually, cards are sold back to contractors who use them in the stores.
Action cards, which operates in locations next to the Home Depot on Preston Highway and next to the Clarksville Lowes, did not want to comment for our story.