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Ventura County Sheriff's Office
Tuesday May 14th, 2024 :: 03:52 p.m. PDT


Newly formed Retail Theft Task Force conducts Moorpark Blitz Operation

  Nature of Incident: Newly formed Retail Theft Task Force conducts Moorpark Blitz Operation
  Report Number: 24-56636
  Location: 800 block New Los Angeles Avenue, Moorpark, Ca
  Date & Time: 05/10/24 @ 03:00PM
  Unit(s) Responsible: Ventura County Organized Retail Theft Task Force
  (S)uspects, (V)ictims, (P)arty, (D)ecedent

City of Residence

  (S) Yang, Tingxiang
(S) Chen, Lingyu
The newly formed Ventura County Organized Retail Theft Task Force (VCORTTF) arrested two suspected Chinese nationals on charges related to a sophisticated form of gift card fraud.

On May 10th, VCORTTF detectives conducted a blitz operation at a large retail store located in the 800 block of New Los Angeles Avenue in the city of Moorpark. During the operation, detectives were alerted by the store’s loss prevention staff of two males who were observed removing bulk quantities of gift cards from a display and acting in concert to conceal them inside a bag. When the two suspects left the store, they were detained by detectives and identified as Tingxiang Yang and Lingyu Chen.  Both are believed to be Chinese citizens.  Detectives found Yang and Chen in possession of a total of approximately 800 stolen gift cards taken from both the Moorpark store and other, as yet unidentified, retail stores.

The gift card thefts are believed to be directly linked to an organized theft tactic called “card draining.” Through card draining, thieves remove gift cards from store displays, open them in a separate location, and either record the card numbers along with the PINs (Personal Identification Numbers) or replace them with new barcodes. The thieves then repair the packaging, return to a store, and place the cards back on the gift card rack. When a customer purchases and loads money onto a compromised card, thieves can then access the card online and steal the balance.

These types of thefts have already led to millions of dollars in losses around the nation to victims who unknowingly bought the compromised gift cards. 

Yang and Chen were arrested on felony charges of conspiracy to commit organized retail theft and were booked into the Pre-Trial Detention Facility in Ventura.  They both subsequently posted $20,000 bail and were released.  They are scheduled to appear in Ventura County Superior Court on 05/24/24.

A “blitz” is a targeted enforcement operation during which undercover detectives and uniformed deputies work collaboratively with store loss prevention officers to identify and arrest individuals suspected of in progress shoplifting and/or organized retail theft crimes.

The Ventura County Organized Retail Theft Task Force was formed after the Sheriff’s Office was awarded grant funding under the California Retail Theft Prevention Grant Program.  This program formalizes a coordinated effort, overseen by the Sheriff’s Office, involving all law enforcement agencies in Ventura County to prevent and combat the estimated $10 million yearly loss from organized retail theft, vehicle/vehicle parts theft and cargo theft. 

The task force is comprised of detectives from various agencies within Ventura County with the primary mission of combatting organized retail theft, vehicle/vehicle parts theft and cargo theft which impact our businesses, citizens, and communities here in Ventura County.  The task force aims to provide a safe environment for everyone while working hand in hand with retailers, law enforcement agencies and the public to identify, locate and arrest the criminals involved in these types of crimes.

Persons with information regarding organized retail theft, vehicle/vehicle parts theft or cargo theft are encouraged to call the Ventura County Organized Retail Theft Task Force’s recorded line at (805) 383-8703 or by calling the Crime Stoppers Tip Line (800) 222-TIPS (8477).  You can remain anonymous when calling either number.
  Prepared by: Sergeant Baltazar Tapia  
  News Release Date: 05/14/2024  
  Media Follow-Up Contact: Sergeant Baltazar Tapia
[email protected]
  Approved by:
Booking Photo Release:
Captain Ron Chips
 YES     NO  

Ventura County Sheriff's Office
800 S Victoria Ave
Ventura, CA 93003

Emergency: 9-1-1
Non-emergencies: 805-654-9511

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