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Shoplifting & Conspiracy Arrests Lead to International Counterfeit Investigation

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What began as an arrest for shoplifting and conspiracy has led Clovis Police officers & detectives to open an investigation into an international counterfeit operation of Apple products. On Friday, May 17, our Organized Retail Crime (ORC) taskforce was working an undercover detail at 2 major commercial shopping centers in Clovis, at Willow/Herndon and Clovis/Shaw, to combat retail crime under our grant. At about 8:00 P.M., employees from the Target at Willow/Herndon called at to report a shoplifting in progress. Officers detained a female juvenile and adult male in the parking lot and discovered counterfeit Apple products with them. That led detectives to write a search warrant for the hotel room in Fresno that both were staying in. During the search warrant, detectives seized over $12,000 worth of counterfeit Apple Air Pods and i-Watches made in China and shipped to the United States through Europe.

In addition to the 2 suspects arrested, detectives are also looking into other persons of interest, and we have reached out to allied agencies. Both the suspects and persons of interest are from Romania and known to each other. The adult arrested for shoplifting and conspiracy has been identified as 18-year-old Vasile Stoian. Both suspects were cited and released for misdemeanor theft & conspiracy as this felony investigation continues. Unrelated to this investigation, the ORC detail on Friday also netted 4 other arrests for shoplifting-related charges, deterred 2 other thefts from retail businesses, and recovered approximately $500 in stolen property.

This is a good reminder to always verify products before making a purchase, especially at swap meets, peddler fairs, and online. If you have information on any counterfeit products or organized retail crime, please call your local law enforcement agency immediately. You can always reach Clovis Police at 911 for emergencies, (559) 324-2800 for non-emergencies, or use our free mobile app.

Seized counterfeit Apple products.

Seized counterfeit Apple products.