Skip to comments.Stolen: 71 Dyson vacuums, 41 Roombas, 154 lights, 93 hard drives…
Posted on 12/11/2009 4:34:49 AM PST by xcamel
CAPE MAY COURT HOUSE –
The county plans to sell the home of a Dennis Township man, the subject of one of the largest stolen property scams in local history, according to Prosecutor Robert Taylor. Thomas Moran, 48, of Furlong Drive in South Seaville, was sentenced last month to six years in prison, part of a plea agreement for crimes in Cape May and Atlantic counties.
“When you add up all the amounts, it’s a tremendous amount of money this man took,” said Taylor. “This is one the largest cases, if not the largest case, of this nature for this office. We hope selling his house deters others from engaging in similar conduct.” Moran pleaded guilty to receiving stolen property, a second degree crime, in Cape May County and also entered a guilty plea to one count of sexual conduct in Atlantic County. The latter crime led to an investigation of his residence, where detectives found more than half-a-million dollars in stolen merchandise, cash and gift cards.
Taylor said what was uncovered through months of investigation by his office’s Economic Crime and Major Crime units reveals a “bizarre story of retail theft carried out throughout the region over the past 10 years.”
Detectives from the Prosecutor’s Office were assisted by the Sea Isle City Police Department in a methodical search of Moran’s residence and storage sheds located on the property, said Taylor. Over the course of several weeks, they located new and unopened merchandise randomly stacked in piles throughout the property. In addition, thousands of dollars in cash was seized, filed in small denominations in envelopes with store receipts secreted throughout the house, he said. Moran’s troubles began last year when he was arrested for allegedly touching the buttocks of a 12-year-old girl at the Hamilton Township Acme supermarket in Mays Landing. According to police, on Oct. 19, 2008, Moran walked down an aisle, saw the girl and purposely touched her in a manner to be considered a sexual assault. The girl’s mother witnessed the incident and chased Moran out of the store, police said. He was later arrested on Nov. 7, 2008, at his home after he was indentified from surveillance pictures. The Atlantic County Prosecutor’s Office said Moran was previously convicted of a similar offense.
Days later, the Cape May County Prosecutor’s Office announced it was pursuing additional charges on Moran, for receiving stolen property and manufacturing false government documents. The evidence leading to those charges was found while executing search warrants related to Moran’s initial sexual conduct arrest. The warrants were executed at Moran’s South Seaville home and at his wife’s home, located in Swainton. At the time, Taylor said, police observed evidence of a possible identity theft scheme and a large collection of suspected stolen property.
Moran was charged for his crimes in Cape May County while lodged in Atlantic County Jail on the sexual assault charge. During subsequent months of investigation, throughout 2009, authorities in Cape May County discovered that Moran used a variety of techniques to obtain expensive merchandise that ranged form high-priced vacuum cleaners to computers to portable hand tools and cameras. Taylor said the methods varied from simple shoplifting to more sophisticated schemes including the use of rebates and returning stolen merchandise for cash or store credit. He said the Prosecutor’s Office would not elaborate further on Moran’s activity because other criminals might seek to duplicate the crime. “It looks like he (Moran) was fairly successful. You just have to look at the evidence recovered and the amount of time he was doing this, nearly a decade, by our estimates,” Taylor said. “For fear of copycats, we won’t divulge any more information on how the schemes were pulled off so successfully over time.” Also, said Taylor, extensive evidence was seized that indicated Moran created numerous false identities to further his scam. But, said Taylor, it does not appear to lead to any loss to individuals. “The scam was solely directed at large retail establishments,” he said. “Those were his victims.” Some of the merchandise seized from Moran’s Furlong Drive home, which was basically used as a warehouse to store stolen items, according to Taylor, includes: 71 Dyson vacuums, 42 Roomba automatic vacuums, hundreds of computer thumb drives, eight televisions, 92 computer hard drives, 23 GPS systems, 30 ironing boards, 22 kitchen cabinets and 154 light fixtures. Other items range from tool kits to cookware sets to power saws and portable heaters.
Totaled, approximately $268,000 in stolen merchandise was recovered from the home. The seized cash totaled about $187,000, said Taylor, and another $196,000 in gift cards and credit was recovered. Many items are being returned to a number of retail stores including Best Buy, Home Depot, Lowe’s, Bed, Bath and Beyond and Target, just to name a few, he said. In his 2008 annual report on the Prosecutor’s Office, Taylor named the case against Moran as one of his office’s biggest busts, labeling it a “multi-state theft scheme.” He indicated then that his office would seek forfeiture of the Dennis Township home. “Whenever we can identify property that is used for criminal enterprise, we will seek to forfeit it,” Taylor said. “We treat a scam artist’s house no differently then the cars we seize from drug dealers. Mr. Moran’s house was used as a warehouse to pull off his scam.” A civil forfeiture action was filed against the residence and a court order of forfeiture was then obtained. The property is assessed at approximately $236,500 and will ultimately be sold by the county, said Taylor.
As for all that merchandise taken from the home, Taylor said the county will hold it for six months in an effort to allow the retailers to properly claim it. If they cannot or do not, he said the county will then auction it off. “Exhaustive hours and painstaking efforts were undertaken to prepare and prosecute a case of this magnitude,” said Taylor, commending the cooperative efforts of all law enforcement agencies involved and the corporate security sections of many of the major retailers. Moran must serve 85 percent of his six-year prison term before parole eligibility, according to the Atlantic County Prosecutor’s Office. He will also be subject to sex offender registration requirements under Megan’s Law.
Dysons and Roombas? His life must really suck.
Either that or he’s onto a really great idea on how to rob a bank and clean out its vault very quickly . . . .
It sounds like these are the same cops who weigh pot plants with big balls of dirt on the roots.
So, he steals all of this stuff..and then just lets it sit and rot in his home? Whats the point?