TAMARAC (CBSMiami) – A year-long investigation into an organized retail crime operation involving a Tamarac pawn shop resulted in the arrests of two people on Tuesday.
Broward Sheriff’s investigators dubbed their investigation into a suspected fencing operation at Richie’s Pawn, at 5227 N State Road 7, operation “Getting Rich” as a spin on the shop’s name.
“When we pulled up to do the search warrant this morning there was a car parked out front, they had three individuals in it and in the trunk they had a KitchenAid and an air fryer so this is the final stop,” Sgt. Rich Rossman said.
According to sheriff’s investigators, two pawn shop employees would give “boosters” a list of the items they wanted to have in their shop and they would bring the items back in their original packaging – untouched and unopened.
Deputies said other store owners called in tips after finding spider wrap security tags in the parking lot.
“Employees would tell the thieves and the undercover, ‘I’m not taking it with the spider wrap.’ But then in essence he would then give them a cutting device to take it off and then will except the item,” Sgt. Rossman explained.
Stolen items recovered at the store included air fryers, expensive tools and over the counter medications Zyrtec and Nexium.
The store’s management also ran recovery addiction centers and those were the type of people they hired to go out and steal merchandise, according to the sheriff’s office.
Tuesday morning, sheriff’s detectives executed a search warrant and arrest warrants at the store.
Sheriff’s investigators said the two arrested employees, identified as 34-year-old Timothy Skehan and 22-year-old Brandon Estkovitz, knowingly sold stolen merchandise and will face numerous felony counts of organized dealing in stolen property.
Another arrest is still pending.
“Any other pawn shop in South Florida or in Florida, they should be aware of the fact that law enforcement isn’t going to turn a blind eye to this type of activity,” Sgt. Rossman said.
Sheriff’s investigators said the stolen goods represent a loss of millions of dollars in tax revenue.