Real Life Somerville Police Stories: Thomas RUSSO (Organized Retail Crime, Larceny Over by Single Scheme)

On January 13, 2018, at approximately 16:20 hours, I was contacted by Home Depot Loss Prevention Officer XXXX, who stated a male had just left the store after attempting to purchase tools with a swapped price tag. As I made my way to Home Depot, XXXX updated me that the male had ditched the tools after being approached by loss prevention, and had fled the store with another male in a Cadillac; MA registration XXXX.

As I approached the intersection of Revolution Drive and Grand Union Blvd., I observed a gray Cadillac bearing the above registration turn out of the Home Depot parking lot, and towards my direction in the opposite lane. I conducted a motor vehicle stop at the intersection of Revolution Drive and Grand Union Blvd., and shortly thereafter, Officers Ramirez and O’Donnell arrived as backup. The driver of the vehicle was identified as Thomas RUSSO, and the passenger was identified as XXXXX. While on the motor vehicle stop, I was again contacted by XXXX, who told me Home Depot Central Intelligence Team (CIT) had been looking for RUSSO and his associates since October, as he was part of an Organized Retail Crime (ORC) group, committing return fraud and tampering with price tags. XXXX explained that RUSSO had entered Home Depot, picked up a DeWalt nailer valued at $399, and attempted to leave the store after scanning a barcode for a much cheaper item. RUSSO successfully paid $62.69 using a merchandise credit for the nailer, bringing Home Depot to a loss of $336.31. When a Home Depot employee attempted to customer service RUSSO into paying the correct price for the nailer, he ditched it and fled the store.

I learned from XXXX that RUSSO been committing this scheme for months at multiple Home Depot locations across Eastern Massachusetts. Home Depot CIT estimates losses valued at upwards of $5,500, and believes there is much more unaccounted for. He purchases expensive items by scanning a barcode he brings with him for a much cheaper item, and pays in merchandise credit, which he receives when he then returns the expensive item to a Home Depot location. XXXX believes RUSSO peels the barcodes he uses to scan items off of Home Depot boxes, and carries them into the store with him in preparation to purchase an expensive item. All transactions are logged in the company’s system, and show a long history of RUSSO committing this scheme. On more than one occasion, he brings an accomplice along with him, as with XXXX during today’s incident. XXXX told me RUSSO and his accomplices were sent out in a company-wide bulletin, alerting loss prevention to be on the lookout for the ORC group at their various store locations. The bulletin states RUSSO is typically the individual conducting the “purchases,” and his accomplices usually do the return transactions.

RUSSO was placed under arrest for Larceny by Single Scheme, Shoplifting over $100 by Price Tag Tampering, and Organized Retail Crime. I will be filing a criminal complaint for XXXX for the same charges, as he was with RUSSO during the commission of the crime, and part of the ORC group. During a search of RUSSO’s person, I located merchandise credit #xxxx for $399 in his pants pocket. This merchandise credit number is the same number listed on the transaction for the nailer he attempted to purchase for $62.69. It should be noted the merchandise credit was in the same amount as the nailer, and most was most likely received when he returned another item he purchased for a reduced price. During a search of the area around RUSSO’s seat in his vehicle, Officer Ramirez located multiple Home Depot receipts for items paid for by merchandise credit, as well as numerous merchandise credit cards. All cards, receipts, and documents have been logged into evidence.

Respectfully submitted,

Officer Reece


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