CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — A West Virginia man was sentenced Friday to eight years and one month in federal prison for organizing a network of shoplifters, many of them addicted to drugs, to steal hundreds of thousands of dollars in store merchandise that he then resold on the internet.
A federal jury convicted Nedeltcho Vladimirov of Cross Lanes of three counts of money laundering and one conspiracy count after a three-day trial in Charleston last July.
Evidence at the trial showed Vladimirov acquired stolen goods and resold them for profit to unsuspecting buyers. Vladimirov paid a fraction of the stolen items’ worth, and many of the shoplifters used the cash to support their drug habits.
Prosecutors said that among the stolen items he bought from shoplifters at a Cross Lanes gas station were high-end vacuum cleaners and tools. An investigation found Vladimirov, 53, sold more than 7,000 items on an online marketplace account and had more than $590,000 in sales over three years.
A federal search warrant executed at Vladimirov’s residence in February 2020 revealed that he had set up cleaning stations used to remove security devices and labels from boxes so that the items could not be traced, prosecutors said. Among the agencies involved were investigators from Kroger, Target and CVS Pharmacy.