Investigators followed stolen items to pawn shops, from pawn shops to warehouses, from warehouses to websites and connected the proceeds to bank accounts, DA Tierney said. Credit: Newsday/Thomas A. Ferrara and John Roca

Suffolk County prosecutors said they've dismantled a large-scale retail theft and fencing operation, in which high-priced goods were swiped from major retailers, sold to a Brentwood pawnshop and resold on the secondary market.

Four members of the operation, which targeted businesses across the county, were arrested last week following a raid of four locations, Suffolk District Attorney Ray Tierney said Tuesday at a news conference in Yaphank with some of the pilfered items. 

In total, five truckloads and thousands of stolen items were seized by law enforcement, Tierney said, including high-priced watches, Burberry handbags, kitchen appliances, flat screen TVs, power tools, and nearly $900,000 in cash.

"When we talk about retail theft, it's not just about these stores. It's about the workers in those these stores whose jobs are imperiled by the losses suffered by the businesses," Tierney said. "And of course, whatever losses suffered by the businesses ultimately are going to be transferred to our consumers in Suffolk County."

The alleged leader of the ring was Carlos Ulloa, 50, owner of the EZ Cash Pawn & Jewelry shop on Brentwood Road — described by Tierney as a "stolen property fencing operation" — and a Patchogue warehouse utilized to store the stolen items.

Police raided both locations, along with Ulloa's Patchogue home — where authorities found a stolen handgun and illegal high-capacity magazines — and an undeveloped lot on Grove Avenue in Patchogue where excess stolen items were kept in tractor trailers, Tierney said.

Ulloa is charged with enterprise corruption, second-degree money laundering, fourth-degree conspiracy and three counts of third-degree criminal possession of a weapon. He is being held on $1 million cash or $3 million bond. 

"Carlos Ulloa is a hardworking businessman who has pulled himself up by the bootstraps," said David Besso, his Bay Shore-based defense attorney. "He is a respected member of the Patchogue community."

The other defendants are Sandra Cruz, 23, of Patchogue, who managed the Patchogue warehouse; Sandra Palomino, 45, of Brentwood, who ran the pawnshop and Henry Delgado, 40, of Medford, who allegedly sold the stolen items online.

Delgado, who is charged with enterprise corruption, second-degree money laundering and fourth-degree conspiracy in the fourth degree, is being held on $750,000 cash or $1.5 million bond.

Cruz and Palomino were each charged with enterprise corruption and fourth-degree conspiracy and have been released without bail on GPS tracking.

Daniel Sullivan, Cruz's Central Islip-based defense attorney, said his client was "overcharged" and was "used" by Ulloa. 

"She worked part-time there selling things on eBay," he said. 

Palomino's defense attorney, George Duncan of Islip Terrace, said his client "maintains her innocence. We look forward to vigorously defending the case."

Delgado's attorney did not immediately respond to a request for comment. 

Prosecutors said thieves would swipe merchandise from retailers such as Lowe's, Home Depot, Petco, Macy's and Target and sell them to EZ Cash, which would store and photograph the items, resell them online and launder the cash. Between Oct. 1, 2021, and Aug. 6, 2022, more than $1 million was transferred from eBay accounts to bank accounts owned by Ulloa, authorities said.,

"We tracked the organized theft operation from start to finish," Tierney said, adding that prosecutors are investigating whether store employees were involved in the scheme.

EZ Cash, he said, has been shuttered by the Town of Brookhaven and issued multiple citations.

Suffolk County Police Commissioner Rodney K. Harrison said larcenies are up approximately 20% year-to-date compared to 2021.

"And that's because of enterprises like this that were allowing individuals to go into retail stores and take items off the shelves and just walk out," said Harrison, adding that tips from the public helped lead to the arrests. "These corporations today came forward, cooperated with us and now we are able to make a major dent in a lot of the retail theft that we are seeing here in Suffolk County."

Suffolk County prosecutors said they've dismantled a large-scale retail theft and fencing operation, in which high-priced goods were swiped from major retailers, sold to a Brentwood pawnshop and resold on the secondary market.

Four members of the operation, which targeted businesses across the county, were arrested last week following a raid of four locations, Suffolk District Attorney Ray Tierney said Tuesday at a news conference in Yaphank with some of the pilfered items. 

In total, five truckloads and thousands of stolen items were seized by law enforcement, Tierney said, including high-priced watches, Burberry handbags, kitchen appliances, flat screen TVs, power tools, and nearly $900,000 in cash.

Some of the merchandise officials say was stolen as part...

Some of the merchandise officials say was stolen as part of the operation.

Credit: John Roca

"When we talk about retail theft, it's not just about these stores. It's about the workers in those these stores whose jobs are imperiled by the losses suffered by the businesses," Tierney said. "And of course, whatever losses suffered by the businesses ultimately are going to be transferred to our consumers in Suffolk County."

The alleged leader of the ring was Carlos Ulloa, 50, owner of the EZ Cash Pawn & Jewelry shop on Brentwood Road — described by Tierney as a "stolen property fencing operation" — and a Patchogue warehouse utilized to store the stolen items.

Police raided both locations, along with Ulloa's Patchogue home — where authorities found a stolen handgun and illegal high-capacity magazines — and an undeveloped lot on Grove Avenue in Patchogue where excess stolen items were kept in tractor trailers, Tierney said.

Ulloa is charged with enterprise corruption, second-degree money laundering, fourth-degree conspiracy and three counts of third-degree criminal possession of a weapon. He is being held on $1 million cash or $3 million bond. 

"Carlos Ulloa is a hardworking businessman who has pulled himself up by the bootstraps," said David Besso, his Bay Shore-based defense attorney. "He is a respected member of the Patchogue community."

The other defendants are Sandra Cruz, 23, of Patchogue, who managed the Patchogue warehouse; Sandra Palomino, 45, of Brentwood, who ran the pawnshop and Henry Delgado, 40, of Medford, who allegedly sold the stolen items online.

Delgado, who is charged with enterprise corruption, second-degree money laundering and fourth-degree conspiracy in the fourth degree, is being held on $750,000 cash or $1.5 million bond.

Cruz and Palomino were each charged with enterprise corruption and fourth-degree conspiracy and have been released without bail on GPS tracking.

Daniel Sullivan, Cruz's Central Islip-based defense attorney, said his client was "overcharged" and was "used" by Ulloa. 

"She worked part-time there selling things on eBay," he said. 

Palomino's defense attorney, George Duncan of Islip Terrace, said his client "maintains her innocence. We look forward to vigorously defending the case."

Delgado's attorney did not immediately respond to a request for comment. 

Prosecutors said thieves would swipe merchandise from retailers such as Lowe's, Home Depot, Petco, Macy's and Target and sell them to EZ Cash, which would store and photograph the items, resell them online and launder the cash. Between Oct. 1, 2021, and Aug. 6, 2022, more than $1 million was transferred from eBay accounts to bank accounts owned by Ulloa, authorities said.,

"We tracked the organized theft operation from start to finish," Tierney said, adding that prosecutors are investigating whether store employees were involved in the scheme.

EZ Cash, he said, has been shuttered by the Town of Brookhaven and issued multiple citations.

Suffolk County Police Commissioner Rodney K. Harrison said larcenies are up approximately 20% year-to-date compared to 2021.

"And that's because of enterprises like this that were allowing individuals to go into retail stores and take items off the shelves and just walk out," said Harrison, adding that tips from the public helped lead to the arrests. "These corporations today came forward, cooperated with us and now we are able to make a major dent in a lot of the retail theft that we are seeing here in Suffolk County."

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