Retail Crime Unit makes first prosecution in $50k retail theft case

Nov 17, 2023, 7:34 AM

retail theft...

WA Attorney General Bob Ferguson (Photo courtesy of KIRO 7)

(Photo courtesy of KIRO 7)

The Attorney General’s Office charged Shawn Nanez in King County Superior Court with felony first-degree organized retail theft, marking the first criminal prosecution under Attorney General Bob Ferguson’s newly minted Organized Retail Crime Unit.

The criminal charges stem from 11 thefts which totaled more than $50,000 in merchandise from Target stores in King and Kitsap counties. The 11 thefts occurred in a two-month period between April and May 2022.

More from WA Attorney General: AG Ferguson announces over $2M in recoveries for student borrowers

“Video footage showed Nanez using a tool to break into security cases that contained electronic items like speakers and headphones,” the Washington State Office of the Attorney General wrote in a prepared statement. “He then took the items out and loaded them into a shopping cart. He walked out of the stores without paying for any of the items. After his arrest on June 3, 2022, Nanez told investigators he sold the merchandise to a third party for cash.”

Nanez, 33, is from Bremerton. He’s been charged with first-degree organized retail theft. Kitsap County Superior Court also filed a charge of first-degree organized retail theft against Nanez.

If convicted, Nanez faces a prison sentence ranging from four years and three months to five years and eight months, alongside a $20,000 penalty for each count.

Washington ranks as the state the most impacted by retail crime, according to Forbes, with Wyoming being the least impacted.

“Our new unit is hitting the ground running and pursuing cases as we hire our team,” Ferguson said. “This is the first of what we hope will be many cases bringing accountability to this significant and growing problem.”

More on organized retail theft: Organized retail theft leads to higher prices in the long run

Ferguson created a central Organized Retail Crime Unit earlier this year. The unit, made up of 10 people unit, including investigators, prosecutors, paralegals and data analysts, was created to assist with investigations and deploy resources where they are most needed. According to The Attorney General’s Office, the unit can prosecute cases referred to the office by county prosecutors.

“I applaud the Attorney General for creating the Organized Retail Crime Unit,” Bellevue Police Chief Wendell Shirley said. “It’s precisely the proactive and focused statewide approach we need to combat this ongoing problem.”

On Thursday, Ferguson selected Assistant Attorney General Kent Liu as the leader of the Organized Retail Crime Unit. Liu is a criminal prosecutor who worked for the Attorney General’s Office for more than 15 years.

MyNorthwest News

Photo: Detectives are investigating a Seattle drive-by shooting that happened early Saturday mornin...

Julia Dallas

Seattle police: Woman shot in both hands in early morning drive-by shooting

Detectives are investigating a Seattle drive-by shooting that happened early Saturday morning. A woman was shot in her hands.

5 hours ago

Photo: President Joe Biden delivers remarks on the 75th anniversary of NATO at the Andrew W. Mellon...

MyNorthwest and KIRO Newsradio staff

‘Bring it on:’ Washington officials react to Biden dropping out of the race

Washington officials have reacted to President Joe Biden dropping out of the 2024 presidential election.

10 hours ago

I-5 pedestrian killed...

Bill Kaczaraba

Man killed in hit-and-run on Interstate 5 in Seattle

The Washington State Patrol is in the process of gathering further details about a traffic incident on Interstate-5that left one man dead.

1 day ago

Tegu Tazz...


Granite Falls alligator turns out to be escaped pet tegu named ‘Tazz’

Reports of a 10-foot alligator have turned out to be an “incredibly docile and friendly” pet tegu by the name of Tazz.

1 day ago

Apartment fire in Sotuh Lake Union. (via KIRO 7)...

Bill Kaczaraba

South Lake Union apartment fire contained, 2 may be injured

An apartment fire in South Lake Union has been contained, but two people may have been injured.. The fire was in the 320 block of 7th Ave N but units remain in the area. Authorities are asking you to avoid the area. Firefighters are on scene at a reported fire in an apartment building in […]

1 day ago



How a faulty CrowdStrike update crashed computers around the world

All it took was one faulty CrowdStrike software update to cause global disruptions that grounded flights, and other services.

2 days ago

Retail Crime Unit makes first prosecution in $50k retail theft case