70 people indicted in organized retail theft ring

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by Jacob Ryan/Chelsea Rabideau

WHAS11.com

Posted on September 19, 2013 at 11:17 PM

Updated Thursday, Sep 19 at 11:20 PM

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) -- Recent arrests stemming from a large scale, organized retail theft will put 70 people in court on September 23 to be arraigned.

The thefts total more than $66,000 from retail stores around the Louisville area, according to police.

The Jefferson County Grand Jury has returned 17 indictments against the group for criminal syndication and theft, so far.

According to police, the subjects would steal merchandise from Home Depot, Lowes, Target, Wal-Mart and other stores and then return the stolen items in exchange for gift cards.  The gift cards would then be sold to pawn shops, according to police.

Christopher Gentry, 31, is the latest arrest in the theft ring.  According to police, Gentry was stopped outside of a Preston Highway Home Depot on Wednesday after running a stop sign,  Police said he had just returned more than $200 of merchandise for a gift card.  Upon being stopped, police recovered additional stolen items and heroin paraphernalia from his vehicle.

Prosecutors believe the driving force behind the entire operation was heroine addictions.

More indictments are expected to come as the Commonwealth Attorney’s office said hundreds of people have been identified as taking part in this criminal activity. 

All 70 defendants are expected to appear in court on Monday, September 23rd for their arraignments.

To see a full list of those arrested, so far, click here.

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