By: Roger Renstrom
January 18, 2013
CITY OF INDUSTRY, CALIF. -- An industrial plastic theft task force confiscated 320 stolen U.S. Postal Service pallets, a granulator and a forklift in a Jan. 16 raid on a Rancho Cucamonga, Calif., warehouse in San Bernardino County.
The plastic products had an estimated value of more than $24,000.
"One pallet was being cut up and primed to be sold" in pellet form, said Sgt. Nabeel Mitry, task force supervisor.
In Rancho Cucamonga, task force investigators arrested a 45-year-old man whom Mitry identified as the operation's leader, the man's 25-year-old son and another worker, age 30. They were charged with possession of known stolen property.
The apprehensions stemmed from an earlier, lengthy investigation that led to the Jan. 2 arrest of nine people and confiscation of stolen, trademarked plastic products worth more than $115,000 at locations in South El Monte and Lynwood.
The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department deploys members of the task force from a department substation in the City of Industry.
City of Industry began funding the five-person force in September 2011 and may consider extending financial support that is now nearly exhausted.
The imminent lack of funding threatens the effort.
"If the task force breaks up," Mitry said, "the problem will go right back to what it was. We have invested a lot in this program."
The task force has recovered stolen, trademarked products with a value of $6.7 million, arrested 65 individuals and shut down 28 locations stowing, grinding and priming the stolen products for sale.