2 charged for alleged organized retail theft

CHELTENHAM, Pa. - November 3, 2011

The Montgomery County District Attorney says they defrauded 46 Target stores in 11 eastern Pennsylvania counties out of thousands of dollars.

Authorities say Gasdaska and Romano created bogus low price bar code labels, went to the Target stores, and put them on merchandise ranging from vacuum cleaners to Bose speakers.

"They would purchase items at the lower price point, they would then take the items home. They would create a fraudulent eBay site, that they would use to sell the items at a lower than retail price, but much higher than the price that they paid," District Attorney Risa Vetri Ferman said.

Surveillance video shows Gasdaska meeting with a still unidentified cohort and exchanging cash and receipts after a purchase.

They're accused of using a phony only eBay store to sell the merchandise at prices near the retail price. Investigators say the crime ring would then launder their ill-gotten gains ultimately through Wal-Mart moneygrams.

"Then they created false identities so they were able to move the money, use the proceeds from the eBay account into a PayPal account into a PNC Bank account, and ultimately into Mr. Gasdaska's personal bank account," Ferman said.

Prosecutors say Gasdaska's organization collected more than $170,000 from eBay in sales revenue from the stolen merchandise.

Target sources say they started noticing the discrepancies and tipped law enforcement.

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