Nationwide Retail Theft Scheme Leads to Five-Year Prison Sentence for Santa Monica Man

The Man Led a Group That Hoodwinked Department Stores Across 23 States

By Zach Armstrong

A Santa Monica man was sentenced to five years in prison for a robbery scheme that spanned 23 states and resulted in over $664,000 in damage, according to an announcement by the U.S. Attorney’s Office of Western District of Washington.

Jaylan Amir Thomas, 27, was the leader of a group that used fake IDs and telephone numbers to rent jumping jack tampers and vibratory plate compactors from department stores. The pieces of equipment were valued up to $2,000 each. After making small rental deposits with debit cards, he and a co-conspirator locked the accounts to shut off further charges.

The group used rental vans to transport the stolen items which were sold online at $700 per machine. Ultimately, Thomas and his gang stole over 480 pieces of equipment from 190 stores across 23 states. He was eventually ordered to pay $664,161.50 in restitution to the victim home improvement store.

“Mr. Thomas recruited others to his criminal scheme, and thus altered the trajectory of their lives with criminal charges in various states,” said U.S. Attorney Gorman in a statement. “Despite advantages such as a stable home and college studies, Mr. Thomas chose fraud as his path and in the process created higher prices for consumers everywhere.”

Although Thomas was arrested four times in three separate jurisdictions for his scheme, he bailed out of prison and continued his robbery efforts. At his sentencing hearing, U.S. District Judge Ricardo S. Martinez stated Thomas “persisted in this crime spree after being arrested and charged in multiple jurisdictions.”

Seven months after his arrest in May of last year, Thomas pleaded guilty to wire fraud. His five-year sentence was announced on March 29.

Judge Martinez noted that organized retail theft has been on the rise since the pandemic and costs U.S. residents some $30 billion a year.

in Hard, News
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