Police: Woman running stolen goods ring in Lexington Co. arrested
LEXINGTON COUNTY, SC (WACH) – A woman has been arrested during a felony stolen goods investigation, according to the Lexington Police Department.
Seventy-year-old Maria Lim Smith is charged with purchasing stolen goods from a law enforcement agent with a value greater than $2,000 but less than $10,000.
The department says detectives began working on a series of shoplifting cases in early August that involved over-the-counter medications and other merchandise. Police say these items were stolen from several businesses in the Town of Lexington.
Investigators were able to identify several people who were shoplifting approximately $3,000-$5,000 of merchandise each week to support their dependency on heroin.
Detectives were then able to identify Smith as she was known to buy stolen goods from those who shoplift, giving them a small percentage of the value as payment, according to police. Smith would then re-sell the stolen merchandise at the US #1 Metro Flea Market on Augusta Road and to buyers around the state.
Detectives of the Lexington Police Department, one who is an agent of the Lexington County Multi-Agency Narcotics Enforcement Team, began working with corporate asset protection investigators who provided merchandise and other support to further this investigation.
Over the course of several weeks, detectives and asset protection investigators conducted a series of successful sales of merchandise, valued at approximately $5,000 in total, which were presented by confidential informants as being stolen to Maria Smith during each transaction.
Search warrants were executed at the US #1 Metro Flea Market, along with the home and car owned by Maria Smith, where over $15,000 worth of stolen merchandise was recovered. The items recovered were mainly over-the-counter medications and personal hygiene items.
Maria Smith was arrested Oct. 31 and was taken to the Lexington County Detention Center. Smith was given a personal recognizance bond during a bond hearing.