It is very likely that some of our readers are familiar with Detroit’s west side – specifically the corner of Michigan Avenue and Casper Street. The brick-fronted Cas Bar sits there, hosting its small crowd of regulars, bikers and hipsters.
Described as “a total dive” by the Free Press, the Cas Bar is run by a mother and daughter team. But the establishment’s management team is facing several criminal charges, including criminal enterprise, conspiracy to commit organized retail crime and concealing stolen property, the newspaper reports.
Prosecutors said the mother and daughter management team has for years resold items such as firearms, energy drinks, washing machines and TVs. Law enforcement officials said they found a treasure trove in the bar’s basement, including small kitchen appliances, air fresheners, tools, packages of coffee and faucets – plus $600,000 in cash.
Two other defendants face similar retail fraud accusations: a 45-year-old New Boston man and a 49-year-old Lincoln Park woman.
Police claim the four defendants paid people to steal from Meijer, Kroger and Target.
The National Retail Federation says that retail crime is more widespread than ever, with online outlets for stolen items as well as neighborhood sources. The annual cost to businesses is approximately $30 billion.
Some of the theft takes place online and some continues to take place in local stores, a spokesperson for the retail theft organization said.
A Wayne County prosecutor said more than 80 percent of those carrying out the thefts are struggling with drug addiction – usually heroin. The people fencing the stolen items ” are creating a market for our drug problem and creating a way for our boosters to fuel their addiction,” the prosecutor said.
Those facing retail fraud accusations should decline to speak to prosecutors or investigators until they have spoken with an attorney experienced in white collar defense.