Illinois Police Look into Possible Retail Crime Ring

Nov. 24, 2004
Discovery of $25K worth of stolen goods in tunk of shoplifters leads to investigation

Police in Illinois continue to search for other victims of two people accused of having more than $25,000 of stolen items in their trunk.

"We are still investigating whether these items were stolen from a distribution truck, a storage center or an actual retail store," Maryville (IL) Police Chief Rich Schardan said Tuesday.

Police are investigating whether the thefts were part of a crime ring operation.

Jan Baran, 45, of Chicago, and Elzbieta Grabowska, 44, of Chicago, were arrested Saturday after an employee of Scadoodles Kids Boutique, 2709 N. Center St., saw them shoplifting from the store, police said.

After the pair was taken into custody, police searched their 1994 Lexus and found as much as $30,000 worth of merchandise in the trunk. Police do not know whether the vehicle was stolen. It was registered to a Chicago resident but not to either suspect.

Police believe some of the stolen merchandise came from stores including Office Max, Steinmart and Bed, Bath & Beyond. Among the items were about 340 assorted types of ink cartridges and about 40 flash drives and jump drives.

It has been determined by markings on the items, including store names, that some of the merchandise was taken from other states, Schardan said.

The police are searching for any information from other businesses that possibly have been victims of the pair.

If it is determined that both Baran and Grabowska are responsible for a number of interstate thefts, Schardan said they would then contact the FBI for possible charges.

Baran and Grabowska each were charged with theft over $10,000 in connection with items found in their trunk and retail theft under $150 in connection with the Scadoodles theft. Both remained in custody Tuesday at the Madison County Jail with bail set at $50,000 each.