The Dewitt Police Department has arrested David L Stevens and Steven D Gates on after an investigation into organized retail crime. Both Stevens and Gates were two of a group of several suspects who, over the course of the last several months, targeted various retail establishments and stole merchandise.
Two other suspects were also arrested on arrest warrants. They're identified Cynthia Smith Of Oswego and Dawn Rawson of Oswego.
The stolen merchandise was then taken to multiple locations of the same retailer and returned for gift cards. The suspects routinely falsified their identifications in attempts to bypass the retail merchandise return sales systems. The suspects would then take the gift cards and sell them to area pawn shops for profit.
At the time of the arrests, the investigation had revealed that the suspects were responsible for in excess of $10,000 in fraudulent returns of stolen merchandise. The investigation was the result of a combined effort between several retail establishments who are members of the Greater DeWitt retail Theft Coalition and Officer Brenton White who conducted the investigation.
The coalition was established by the DeWitt Police Department in 2010. The coalition presently includes close to 200 members from the retail community, law enforcement and the District Attorney’s Office. One of the primary goals of the coalition is to identify and combat organized retail theft. In this case, loss prevention investigators with the retail stores identified patterns of fraudulent returns and worked with the DeWitt Police Department throughout the criminal investigation.