Feds Arrest Migrant Shoplifting Gang After Five Years in New England


Federal agents have finally started arresting suspects reportedly involved in an organized criminal gang of migrants accused of stealing tens of thousands of dollars of merchandise from stores across New England.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security announced the arrests of Marvin Estuardo Morales De Paz, 33; Abraham Dayger-Enrique, 24; Sebastian Lajuj-Soloman, 30; and Jonathan Josue Amperez-Perez, 31; several of whom federal authorities charged in Rhode Island, according to Maine Wire.

One of the thefts attributed to this group of migrants occurred in Rockland, Maine, in February 2023. Seven migrants were arrested in that incident, and several of those arrested in Maine in 2023 have now been arrested in Rhode Island.

“Home Depot loss prevention personnel discovered that a group of individuals were attempting to steal more than $1,900 in electrical wire and other merchandise concealed in a box of another item,” said Special Agent Brendan Cullen. “Several of the same individuals were present in the van in Rockland as in Warwick and Providence.”

The method the thieves used also involved a purchase at the Home Depot stores they targeted.

According to Cullen, the men would choose a large piece of furniture, such as a cabinet, then shove high-ticket items, such as copper wire or laminate flooring, into the larger item. They would then buy the large item, in which they had concealed the other products that escaped the attention of the checkout workers.

Marvin Estuardo Morales De Paz overseeing the checkout of a bathtub and cabinet boxes containing electrical wire in Boston, Massachusetts, on December 8, 2022. (Justice Department)

Later, they would return the furniture for a refund.

The crew was arrested after a similar heist in Smithfield, Rhode Island, on April 2. After executing a search warrant, police seized $83,000 in cash, $11,000 worth of stolen goods, and a 2019 Ford F150.

While some of the men were arrested in Rhode Island, Josue Amperez-Perez was arrested in Pennsylvania.

“This is no minor shoplifting operation. These men targeted specific products in large quantities and followed a patterned method for removing those items from the store without payment,” Suffolk County, Massachusetts, District Attorney Kevin Hayden said in a statement after the arrest of Josue Amperez-Perez. “This is the type of retail larceny that can drive stores out of communities and harm residents by removing convenient shopping options for them.”

Many of these men have been arrested before, as well, but skipped out on court dates.

Groups of immigrants organizing criminal theft gangs have been an increasing problem across the country as President Joe Biden’s border crisis continues to endanger America.