A family of three was arrested earlier this week in front of their $1.3 million home in Northbrook, Chicago after returning from a three-day shoplifting spree. In tandem, the Bogdanov family targeted dolls, toys, cosmetics and other valuables in a decade long shoplifting lifestyle. The family hit businesses in many states including Maryland, Tennessee, and Florida.
The Bogdanovs, father Branko, 58, mother Lela, 52, and their daughter Julia, 34, have each been charged on one account of transporting stolen merchandise between states. The charge can hold a sentence of up to ten years. The family has stolen up to $7 million worth of stolen goods. At the U.S. District Court of Chicago the family made their first appearances, but have yet to enter their pleas. The family will continue to be held at least until a detention hearing next week.
The mother, Lela Bogdanov, was seen wiping away tears as she was explained her rights through a Romani interpreter. During the shoplifting escapades Lela often wore a long black skirt with secret compartments sewn on the inside. She was spotted in more than one store by surveillance cameras leaving with a fuller skirt than when she entered.
An unnamed witness bought many of the stolen items from the Bogdanovs’ home, then sold the items through eBay. The items bought varied from American Girl Dolls and Furby toys to coffee and steak knives. The Bogdanov family themselves have sold more than $690,000 in merchandise through eBay.
The investigation was led by the United States Secret Service after super stores, Barnes and Nobles Inc. and Toys R Us Inc., contacted the agency about what the complaint describes as “a huge loss in merchandise.” With the help of Barnes and Nobles Inc., Toys R Us Inc. and eBay the authorities were able to trace the items to an online trading account. The account belonged to the cooperating witness, who agreed to help the investigators in the case of the Bogdanov family.
The Secret Service office of Chicago head, Frank P. Benedetto, discussed with reporters how massive shoplifting harms not only the stores but their buyers as well. He continued to explain that the losses from stolen merchandise will be passed from the retailer to their regular customer.
Patrick Donovan is a criminal defense attorney in Massachusetts that has successfully represented many clients against shoplifting charges. If you need advice call Attorney Donovan today.