PERRYSBURG TOWNSHIP, OH (WTOL) - Aauthorities from local, state and federal law enforcement jurisdictions busted a major retail theft ring on Friday.The six month investigation started in Perrysburg Township and widened out to include Northwest Ohio, Southeast Michigan--even Indiana.68 people have been indicted and 48 of them are now behind bars. "This is a good day for law enforcement in the area. Even a better day for our local retailers," said Det. Todd Curtis of the Perrysburg Township Police Department.The ring stole a quarter million dollars worth of merchandise and gift cards from big box stores.It's expected another quarter million dollars in missing items will be recovered."This is a coordinated group of people who were able to obtain this work together to utilize the project," said Wood County Prosecutor Paul Dobson.
The ring scammed the stores by shoplifting items and then returning them. The crooks would receive gift cards as a result of a store's 'No Receipt' return policy.
However, this crime pattern cold be monitored by a store's loss prevention team.
"They're able to track that credit which is one of the ways we were able to determine this was a coordinated group of people," said Dobson.
The investigation continues and more arrests are expected.
Meanwhile, because of the volume of arrests, arraignments of those already behind bars will occur Wednesday morning inside a makeshift courtroom at the Wood County Jail in Bowling Green.Copyright 2011 WTOL. All rights reserved.