AG Ferguson’s Organized Retail Crime Unit files its first criminal prosecution
Ferguson announces head of Organized Retail Crime Unit
SEATTLE — Today Attorney General Bob Ferguson announced the first criminal prosecution by his new Organized Retail Crime Unit, and the first leader for the Unit.
The Attorney General’s Office charged Shawn Nanez, a 33-year-old from Bremerton, in King County Superior Court with felony first-degree organized retail theft. The criminal charges stem from 11 thefts totaling 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. Video footage showed Nanez using a tool to break into security cases that contained electronic items like speakers and headphones. 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.
In addition to the one felony count of organized retail theft in King County, the Attorney General’s Organized Retail Crime Unit is also prosecuting Nanez in Kitsap County Superior Court for felony first-degree organized retail theft.
The Attorney General’s Office asserts Nanez’s eight thefts in King County had a total value of more than $30,000 and three thefts in Kitsap County had a total value of more than $24,000.
If convicted, Nanez faces a prison sentence from four years and three months to five years and eight months and a $20,000 penalty for each count. The Attorney General’s Office will seek full restitution for Nanez’s thefts in King and Kitsap counties.
Assistant Attorney General Nick Kiewik is handling the case for Washington.
The information contained in the affidavit of probable cause are only allegations. A person is presumed innocent unless and until he or she is proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.
The Attorney General’s Office does not have authority to initiate criminal investigations, unless it receives and accepts a referral from a county prosecutor or the governor. The Attorney General’s Office accepted referrals from the King and Kitsap county prosecuting attorneys’ offices.
The Rules of Professional Conduct govern what a prosecutor in a criminal case may say publicly before trial. As the prosecutor in this criminal matter, the Attorney General’s Office and its representatives are prohibited from making public statements beyond the narrow scope allowed by the Rules of Professional Conduct. The office will make every effort to be transparent with the public, while upholding its responsibilities as a criminal prosecutor.
Ferguson names first Organized Retail Crime Unit leader
Ferguson also announced today he selected Assistant Attorney General Kent Liu as the leader for the Organized Retail Crime Unit. Liu is a criminal prosecutor who has worked for the Attorney General’s Office for more than 15 years.
“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.”
The funding for the 10-person unit became available July 1. The office is in the process of hiring investigators, prosecutors, paralegals and a data analyst. The Organized Retail Crime Unit is available to assist with investigations — including coordinating them across multiple jurisdictions — and deploy resources where they are most needed. The unit can prosecute cases referred to the office by county prosecutors.
Organized retail crime involves a group of individuals that steal products in order to resell them for a profit. This does not include petty theft, shoplifting or poverty-driven crimes. Organized retail crime differs from burglary and larceny — such as shoplifting — in that it is not the result of a single individual breaking the law, but rather part of an organized scheme to defraud retailers or to steal products for resale elsewhere. Organized crime can result in intimidation and violence for employees in those stores.
Nine other states have a task force dedicated to organized retail crime. Multiple states recently established similar units in their state attorney general’s office, including Arizona and Michigan.
AFFIDAVIT FOR DETERMINATION OF PROBABLE CAUSE
I, Jaqueline Franklin, declare under penalty of perjury:
I am a Senior Investigator for the Washington State Attorney General’s Office Criminal Justice Division, Major Economic Crimes Unit and I am familiar with the police reports, loss prevention reports, security footage and photo stills, and investigative materials provided by Target Corporation detailing the alleged thefts by the Defendant at Target Store locations in King County beginning on or about April 13, 2022 and ending on or about May 17, 2022. My findings, described below, provide probable cause to charge Shawn Dale Nanez (Nanez) with one count of Organized Retail Theft in the First Degree, contrary to RCW 9A.56.350(2) and RCW 9A.56.350(1)(d), stemming from the eight separate theft incidents in King County Washington from King County Target stores.
Training and Expertise
Your affiant has been employed as a Senior Criminal Investigator for the Attorney General’s Office (AGO) since May 1, 2013. I spent five years as a Supervisory AGO Medicaid Fraud Investigator, conducting criminal and civil investigations into healthcare fraud in the Medicaid Fraud Control Division. In February 2018, I joined the AGO Major Economic Crimes Unit as a Senior Criminal Investigator conducting investigations into wage theft and tax related offenses. Prior to working for the AGO, I was employed for 13 years with Office of Inspector General, Medicaid Fraud Control Unit, District of Columbia, as Chief Investigator/Special Agent investigating criminal and civil healthcare fraud and abuse and neglect of vulnerable adults and three years as Program Analyst and Investigator for the Medicaid Fraud Control Unit, Office of the Texas Attorney General conducting criminal healthcare fraud investigations. My education includes an A.A. degree in Criminal Justice with an emphasis in Law Enforcement from Austin Community College in 1994, a B.S. degree in Computer Networking from Strayer University in 2004, and M.A. in Forensic Psychology from Argosy University in 2011.
I have received extensive training in criminal investigations from the AGO, National Association of Medicaid Fraud Control Units, Federal Law Enforcement Training Center, Department of Justice, Association of Inspectors General, Health and Human Services, National Health Care Anti-Fraud Association, the WA Department of Revenue (DOR), the CA Tax and Fee Administration, Texas AGO, WA State Department of Social and Health Services, and National White Collar Crime Center.
Criminal Prosecution Referral from Target Corporation
In February of 2023 Target Store Field Investigator Jeremy Girard (Girard) requested the assistance of the Washington Attorney General’s Office Criminal Justice Division regarding a series of retail thefts believed to have been committed by Nanez. Girard provided documentation that showed Nanez and, at times, accomplices committing multiple ‘Smash and Grab’ thefts at Target stores located in King, Pierce, and Kitsap counties. The first theft documented by Girard occurred in Puyallup, WA, on April 1, 2022, and the final event occurred in Lakewood, WA, on June 3, 2022, where Nanez and a female were arrested shortly after exiting a Target store with stolen merchandise. Nanez denied committing any crime because the female pushed the cart out the store but both individuals were arrested. Girard’s investigation detailed a total of 28 separate thefts and approximately $145,766 worth of stolen merchandise.
Girard provided numerous pieces of video footage of these 28 theft incidents showing Nanez entering and exiting Target stores, often using a tool to break into security cases containing merchandise, loading shopping carts or storage totes placed inside shopping carts with merchandise, and then bypassing all points of sale, i.e., leaving the premises without purchasing the items.
Target security videos also show Nanez utilizing male and female accomplices for some thefts. Multiple Target videos also show Nanez leaving the parking lot of various Target stores in a gold Ford Ranger with plates WA C05400X. When Nanez was arrested in Lakewood on June 3, 2022, he arrived in the same make and model truck bearing the same license plates and damage, although the truck had been painted blue.
I obtained and reviewed police department reports for the referred Target thefts including the reports for the June 3, 2022 arrest of Nanez and accomplice Makaylah Morae Johnson by Lakewood Police Department. I have read and reviewed the police reports documenting eight separate thefts in King County.
King County Target Store Thefts
The Target investigation detailed eight different theft events in King County. Those events begin on April 13, 2022 and conclude on May 17, 2022. Target reports that the combined value of the stolen merchandise is over $30,000. At the time of each incident and during Target’s investigative observations of the thefts, the identity of the individual male involved is Shawn Dale Nanez, a known shoplifter to asset protection teams. In the eight King County incidents, Nanez is the same person who at times, committed thefts with a female accomplice. Target detailed the following thefts, by incident report, at the Target Store locations in King County.
I reviewed Target incident reports and security video, and any police report associated with the incidents. Target did not contact police for every incident and did not retain video for all incidents, but Target Asset Protection Specialists (TAPS), documented the incident including the description of the individuals involved.
1) Target Store T-0627 located at 301 Strander Blvd, Tukwila, WA 98188
On April 13, 2022, on or about 9:50am, on Target store security video1, a white male is observed in the electronics department wearing a white face covering, white t-shirt over a black long sleeve shirt, and dark pants. The male, identified as Nanez, is observed using a hand-held tool to dislodge the locking mechanism on a secured sliding glass cabinet door. He has a Target shopping cart next to the case. Once broken, the male slides the case doors open and takes all the merchandise from the cabinet and placed it into a Target shopping cart. The merchandise included Sony and Bose Bluetooth speakers.
At or about 9:53am, the same male is captured on store security video exiting the store with the shopping cart of unpaid merchandise. Nanez bypassed all points of sale terminals, before exiting through the main entrance with the shopping cart.
Frank J. Calderon, TAPS, documented in incident report 51424246. The value of the stolen merchandise is approximately $3,259. The Tukwila Police Department documented the theft in report 22-0020559.
Target video security stills capture Nanez at the secured case in electronics, taking merchandise after breaking the case, and exiting through the main entrance with the shopping cart of unpaid merchandise.
2) Target Store T-0681 located at 26301 104th Ave SE Kent, WA 98030
On April 27, 2022, on or about approximately 9:46pm, by report, TAPS Ethan Miller (Miller) and David Huff (Huff), stated Nanez, wearing all black clothing and a white bucket hat, enters the Target location, selects a tote and places it inside a shopping cart before entering the electronics section. TAPS observed Nanez break two secured glass case doors and take merchandise from the cabinet and place it into the shopping tote. The merchandise included JBL and Bose headphones and speakers. Nanez leaves the store after bypassing all points of sale terminals and exiting through the main store entrance.
Miller reported by incident report 51489771, the value of the stolen merchandise is approximately $3,409. The theft was documented by Huff to the Kent Police Department in report 22-51432.
April 27, 2022, TAPS video still capture of Nanez exiting Kent Target location:
3) Target Store T-2290 located at 1215 N Landing Way, Renton, WA 98057
On April 29, 2022, on or about 9:01pm, TAPS Huff observes Nanez and female on security footage entering the Target store. On or about 9:05pm, Nanez walks into the electronics section and looks at the locked merchandise cabinets. The female follows behind him, pushing a shopping cart with a tote sitting inside, but remains on a separate aisle before the male picks up merchandise, walks to the shopping cart, and places it in the shopping cart underneath the tote. After walking around the section, the female takes several hanging merchandise items and placed them in the cart underneath the tote. The female does this twice when the male leaves the electronics section.
On or about 9:07pm, Nanez leaves the electronics section and returns a minute later with another container and placed it inside the tote. They both continue looking at the merchandise cabinets and at 9:11pm, Nanez removes the container from the cart and leaves the electronics area again, returning a minute later without the container, and resumes looking at the merchandise cabinets.
On or about 9:15pm, a TAPS observes Nanez use a tool and breaks a secured glass cabinet case and both take merchandise from the cabinet. They load the shopping tote with headphones and other items from the electronics section, then bypass all points of sale terminals, and exit through the main store entrance.
TAPS Zhi Wu created incident report 51499658, stating over 30 pairs of Beats and Samsung brand headphones were stolen. Target reports the total value of the stolen merchandise is approximately $6,717. The Renton Police Department documented the theft in report 22- 04504.
Target video stills captures on April 29, 2022 of theft at Renton Target location:
4) Target Store T-0681 located at 26301 104th Ave SE Kent, WA 98030
On April 29, 2022, on or about approximately 10:01pm, by report TAPS Huff observes the same male (Nanez) and female individuals enter the Kent Target store approximately an hour later. TAPS observed the two people select a tote prior to entering the electronics section. Nanez is observed by TAPS breaking the secured glass case and both begin loading the tote with JBL and Bose headphones and speakers. Nanez is observed pushing and riding the cart out the store, bypassing all points of sale terminals before exiting through the main entrance.
TAPS Huff documented the theft with incident report 51499054. Target reports the value of the stolen merchandise is approximately $2,277. The Kent Police documented the theft in report 22-5806 and took photos.
Target video still captures of April 29, 2022 and police picture at Kent Target location:
5) Target Store T-2290 located at 1215 N Landing Way, Renton, WA 98057
On May 1, 2022, on or about 9:53pm, TAPS Wu observed Nanez wearing a tan bucket hat, teal long sleeve shirt, and dark pants and a female wearing a Seahawks knit cap, burgundy top, blue denim shorts with black leggings, and flip flops, in the electronics department. Upon entering the store, the female is observed by TAPS selecting a shopping cart and placing two totes inside the shopping cart.
On or about 9:58pm, Nanez is observed on Target security video walking and holding Legos merchandise in his arms. He walks to where the female in the electronics section and places the Legos underneath the tote, in the cart. While Nanez walks around the electronics section, the female picks up more merchandise and places it underneath the tote, in the cart. On or about 10:00pm, Nanez uses a tool he concealed beneath his sleeve and pries two locked glass merchandise cases open, shattering the glass. He places the tote on the floor in front of the cabinet cases and he and the female load the tote with the merchandise from the cabinet then placed it back in the shopping cart, then leave the electronics section.
On or about 10:02pm, Nanez and female bypassed all points of sale terminals with the unpaid merchandise in the shopping cart, exiting through the main entrance. TAPS Wu observed the two get into a gold-colored Ford Ranger pickup truck.
TAPS Wu documented the theft with incident report 51509246. Target reports the value of the stolen merchandise is approximately $7,357. The Renton Police Department was summoned while the theft was ongoing and documented the event in report 22-4558.
Target video stills May 1, 2022 at Renton location:
6) Target Store T-2290 located at 1215 N Landing Way, Renton, WA 98057
On May 15, 2022, on or about 9:45pm, TAPS Wu observed Nanez on Target security video entering the store, wearing a tan bucket hat, face covering, Adidas top, and dark pants. Prior to entering the electronics section of the store, the male obtains a shopping cart and placed a tote inside the cart.
On or about 9:55pm, Nanez takes hanging merchandise and places it inside the tote. He then takes a tool from inside his pocket and breaks a secured case and takes merchandise from the cabinet and loads the tote with various electronics, including Fire Sticks, tablets, and routers. He is observed leaving the section going toward the front of the store and bypassing all points of sale terminals with the shopping cart of merchandise and exiting through the main entrance at 9:57pm.
TAPS Wu created incident report 51572810 documenting the event and noted that during the theft, Nanez appeared to confer with another unidentified male while taking merchandise from the broken cabinet case. The unidentified male stood and watched as he filled the tote. After Nanez left the aisle, the unidentified male is seen on video going into the broken cabinet case and taking merchandise out, after a Target employee leaves the area.
The TAPS report further said both males were observed leaving in a gold/champagne colored truck. Target reports the value of the stolen merchandise is approximately $3,032. The theft was documented by the Renton Police Department in report 22-5049.
Target video still captures of May 15, 2022, exiting Renton Target Store location:
7) Target Store T-0681 located at 26301 104th Ave SE, Kent, WA 98030
On May 17, 2022, on or about 6:04pm, TAPS Denzel Lim (Lim) observed Nanez wearing a tan bucket hat, face covering, yellow shirt, black jacket and blue denim and a female wearing a black hooded jacket, face covering, and dark colored shorts, on Target video security footage in the electronics section.
The female has a Target shopping cart with multiple merchandise items in it and follows the male to where the televisions are located. TAPS observes them both load three flat screen televisions into the shopping cart. As they are leave, TAPS observes the female place another television on the bottom level of the shopping cart. They both leave the electronics section and bypass all points of sale terminals with the merchandise and exit the store through the main entrance.
TAPS Lim and Target Executive Team Lead Kirby Dredd attempted to intervene and stop the cart, but Nanez pushed between both Target employees and pulled the cart out of the store’s entrance. They both left the store with the shopping cart of unpaid merchandise. TAPS Lim created incident report 51578446 documenting the theft. Target reports the value of the stolen merchandise is approximately $1,319.
Target video still captures of May 17, 2022 at the Kent Target Store location:
8) Target Store T-0681 located at 26301 104th Ave SE, Kent, WA 98030
On May 17, 2022, on or about 9:42pm, TAPS Huff reported observing Nanez wearing a tan hat, black jacket, yellow shirt, and black pants. This is the same male wearing the same clothing from an earlier incident of reported Target theft. Nanez is observed breaking a secured electronics case and taking the merchandise and then placing it inside a tote.
On or about 9:44pm, Nanez is seen again on security video footage taking merchandise from the electronics section. He is pushing a shopping cart with a tote inside of it and takes hanging merchandise and places the items in the tote, inside a shopping cart. Nanez bypasses all points of sale terminals with merchandise and exits the store through the main entrance. TAPS Huff documented the theft with incident report 51580471. Target reports the value of the stolen merchandise is approximately $2,999. The Kent Police Department documented the theft in report 22-51637.
Target video still capture of May 17, 2022 theft at the Kent Target Store location:
Identification and arrest of the Shawn Dale Nanez on June 3, 2022
On June 3, 2022, on or about 11:16am, at Target Store T-0349, located at 5618 Lakewood Town Center, Blvd., SW, Pierce County, Lakewood, WA, 98499, TAPS Hunter Kahne (Kahne), observed a white female with red hair, wearing a red top, and blue denim enter the store. Video shows the female exiting the passenger side of a blue, two-door pickup truck with a black hood. The driver cannot be seen, at this point. She entered the store pulling a Target shopping cart behind her.
On or about 11:36am the blue pickup truck returned to the Target parking lot. The driver exited from the truck and wore a light colored floppy hat pulled down low, tan vest, dark long sleeve shirt, denim jeans and tennis shoes, entered the store head down avoiding cameras. TAPS Kahne contacts SouthSound 911 and Lakewood Police Department (LPD) is dispatched while the male and female are still in the store.
On or about 11:53am, according to the Computer-Aided Dispatch2 report, TAPS Kahne recognized the male in the hat to be Shawn D. Nanez, a known repeat shoplifter at multiple Target locations. Kahne provided a description of Nanez and the female to dispatch while continuing to advise of their movements while in the store. Kahne advised dispatch that Nanez is with a female that he is unable to identify, but recognized Nanez from previous thefts. Kahne reported watching Nanez and the female in the toy department and the kitchen wares section. On or about noon, Kahne described seeing Nanez use a cutting tool to cut the security wire from two expensive Kitchen Aide mixers. On recorded Target security video, Nanez and the female are observed dislodging the security wire and placing two of the Kitchen Aide mixers in the cart, leaving pieces of the broken security devices on the floor. Video recorded Nanez walking ahead of the female with the shopping cart, toward the front of the store to exit. Nanez and the female bypassed all points of sales terminals and exited the store. Nanez again keeps his face pointed downward and avoids looking toward store cameras.
TAPS Kahne said once Nanez and the female exit the store, they are stopped by Lakewood Police Officers Ryan Moody and Conner Cockle, with the cart full of unpaid merchandise. LPD documented the theft in case report # 215400944.1.
LPD officers arrived and arrested the female, later identified as Makaylah M Johnson (Johnson) and Nanez. The vehicle, the blue Ford Ranger pickup truck bearing WA State license plate number C05400X was impounded. Johnson is taken to Pierce County jail and released due to COVID protocols.
Later, on or about 12:48pm, Nanez’s custodial interview is audio and video recorded by LPD Investigators J. Anderson and Dier. Nanez admitted to stealing merchandise from multiple Target Stores and reselling the merchandise to a third- party for cash compensation of over $25,000. When asked which stores he had stolen from, Nanez listed Renton, Kent, and Lakewood.
Detective Anderson asked Nanez if he would load up a shopping cart and simply walk out the door during the thefts, to which Nanez said yes, but then explained further. Nanez said he broke the display cabinets using a screwdriver, then walked out of the store while “one of the females” would unload the (cabinet) case. Nanez also stated to Det. Anderson that he sold stolen merchandise to the same third party “at least 15 or 20 times.”
Based on the custodial interview and with positive identification, Shawn Dale Nanez (pronounced Non-yez), is the same male person in the eight listed King County incidents at Target Renton, Target Tukwila, and Target Kent. No female is identified in any of the incidents, except the Lakewood arrest. This is confirmed by Nanez’s admission in custody, the observation and comparison of the male suspect wearing same and/or similar clothing in Target security footage, and the physical description provided by TAPS. The vehicle used in the previous incidents appears to be the same vehicle LPD impounded, but now appears to be blue with a black hood. Other identifiers of the vehicle beyond the matching WA State license plate include the location of the dents in the side panel and rear panel, both of which match the damage to that can be seen in the gold truck identified in prior Target theft events associated with Nanez. At the time of his arrest, Nanez is also wearing a tan bucket hat similar to that hat that is seen in numerous pieces of Target security footage.
Based on the forgoing, there is probable cause to believe that Shawn Dale Nanez committed the offense of Organized Retail Theft in the First Degree in King County, WA.
I certified under penalty of perjury under the laws of the State of Washington that the foregoing is true and correct.