IL family shoplifts $6 million cross country, over deacde

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Thursday, March 6, 2014 - 4:45pm

An Illinois family is accused of selling millions of dollars of stolen merchandise on eBay.

Investigators say the robbery spree spanned three states.

There was no answer at the door of Bogdanov's Northbrook home.

But yesterday, three members were taken into custody by federal agents.

"I came out to my truck to get something and there were just cars lined up all down the street," said Cleveland Johnson, a contractor.

58-year-old Branko Bogdanov, his wife Lela, and their adult daughter Julia are charged with shoplifting merchandise and selling it on eBay.

A scheme, that allegedly netted the family more than three million dollars over the past decade.

The secret service special agent in charge says his office was alerted several months ago by executives at Barnes and Noble and Toys R Us that their stores had sustained huge losses in merchandise.

"We identified transactions on eBay that were similar in amounts of merchandise and types of merchandise that were stolen from these stores," Secret Service agent Frank Benedetto explained.

Investigators say the family went on a shopping odyssey that started February 17th in Oklahoma, continued two days later at malls in Texas and wound through Louisiana.

They returned to their home February 21st.

The stolen goods ranged from American Girls dolls, Lego Blocks, and baby carriers.

The Bogdonavs then sold the goods to a fence who posted the merchandise on eBay.

That fence is a person who is working with the investigation.

"We've determined that he paid 3.4 million to the defendants in this case over several years for merchandise with retail value of over 6 million dollars," said Frank Benedetto.

The Bogdonavs appeared in federal court today where they were charged with interstate transportation of stolen goods and were ordered detained until a bond hearing next week.

Branko Bogdonav's public defender says his client referred to the case as shoplifting.

"I think it must always be kind of shocking and disorienting to be swept up like this but he seemed to me to be pretty upbeat," said Michael Falconer, Branko Bogdano’s public defender.
 

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