Rampant NYC Shoplifting Creates Booming Online Resale Market

An online shopping network has formed, and purchasers of brand new products may be surprised at their origins. Brazen shoplifters are now so efficient at stealing from honest merchants that they are flooding internet sales sites with stolen goods.

The New York Post reported that these pilfered goods are increasingly common on eBay and Facebook Marketplace.

The cycle starts with shoplifters descending onto retail locations knowing they face few consequences even if caught. Leftist prosecutors largely choose to ignore these crimes, sowing the seeds for their rapid spread.

Those shoplifters then get paid by a middleman, who rewards them with far less than what the items were listed for. Their cost is cheap because there is absolutely no underlying expense for getting the goods.

The merchandise is then listed and sold on eBay or Facebook Marketplace. Sometimes the items are sold through storefront businesses if the dealer has access to them.

The process is so sophisticated that many times the shoplifters are given a specific list of items desired to sell online.

A law enforcement official told the outlet that thieves get “shopping lists for items that include cellphones, power tools [and] handbags.”

New York state retailers lose a staggering $4.4 billion per year to the shoplifting crisis, according to Democratic Gov. Kathy Hochul. In NYC alone, the Council on Criminal Justice reported that the retail theft rate skyrocketed 64% from June 2019 to June 2023.

The National Retail Federation released a report last year which revealed that 26% of items listed as “new with tags” are connected to organized crime. These find their way onto Craigslist and other platforms where they are snatched up by unsuspecting consumers.

The volume is so immense that warehouse spaces and illegal pawn shops are full of stolen items. A recent raid in Queens uncovered a space overflowing with ill-gotten merchandise along with a large garbage bag of security tags.

Another scam that popped up targets high-end retailers. Thieves steal items from one location of the national chains and then return them to a branch out of state.

There they receive store credit, and that is immediately sold for cash outside of the business.