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Anti-theft locked merchandise on shelves with customer service button at CVS pharmacy, Queens, New York

Anti-theft locked merchandise on shelves with a customer service button at CVS pharmacy, Queens, New York.  | Source: UCG / Getty

A white suburban married couple has emerged as the face behind a nationwide ring of organized retail crimes that conservatives have been trying to blame on migrants.

Bonsall, California, residents Michelle Mack and her husband, Kenneth Mack, were detained at their lavish mansion on Dec. 6, 2023, after they were accused of leading an $8 million scheme, dubbed the “California Girls.” 

New video footage obtained from NBC 7 San Diego captured police handcuffing Kenneth and Michelle, dressed in pink loungewear, as they escorted the white couple to a squad car outside of their Bonsall Mansion. 

Pundit Keith Boykin pointed out the irony of finding out who could be behind “all those smash-and-grab videos” that were going viral last year.

According to officials, the couple’s lavish home — which they also rented out for weddings and as an Airbnb — functioned as a stash house for a sizable haul of stolen makeup from prominent retailers nationwide, including Sephora and Ulta.

In February, California Attorney General Rob Bonta announced charges against the mastermind duo. According to Bonta’s press release, Michelle and Kenneth allegedly garnered close to $8 million worth of beauty products with the help of over seven “young” female accomplices, dubbed as the “California Girls.” They allegedly paid the women to steal high-demand products from Ulta Beauty and several other major retail stores. Michelle would then allegedly sell the stolen cosmetic items on her Amazon storefront for a fraction of the price. The suspects involved in these thefts were captured on surveillance footage and have also been charged in connection with the case. 

“Organized retail crime has significant financial and safety implications for businesses, retailers, and consumers,” Bonta said at the time.

“Today, we are addressing an audacious instance of organized retail theft and making it clear that such criminal activity will not be accepted in California. As the leading law enforcement official in our state, my dedication lies in actively pursuing and bringing to justice those who violate the law. Ending crime is a team effort.“ 

During a search of Kenneth and Michelle’s residence, authorities discovered significant quantities of makeup products meticulously stored, organized, and prepared for shipping, all still in their original packaging. Retailers such as Ulta and Sephora collaborated in assessing the recovered product’s value, estimated at around $400,000. The nationwide loss resulting from this multi-year theft operation is estimated to exceed $7.8 million. The thefts occurred across a wide range of counties, including Alameda, Placer, Kern, Contra Costa, Orange, Los Angeles, Santa Clara, San Diego, Sacramento, and San Mateo.  

The Bonsall-based couple and their accomplices were slammed with a total of 140 counts connected to the alleged crime ring. The charges include one count of organized retail theft, a count of conspiracy, and multiple counts of grand theft.

Alina Franco, one of the women reportedly involved with the “California Girls” theft scheme, allegedly had $67,000 worth of stolen beauty products at her home in Colton, San Bernardino, The Daily Mail noted. She was arrested on the same day as Kenneth and Michelle.

During an interview with CNBC, Ulta Beauty CEO Dave Kimbell condemned the couple’s actions.

“The network she built across the country was impacting multiple stores and so by eliminating that, it’s a step,” Kimbell told the outlet. “But unfortunately, I know there are others out there that are just like that.”

The businessman added, “You used to have to sell stolen goods at flea markets or out of the trunk of your car, or maybe just locally. Now, you have more sophisticated tools to have a broader reach across the country or even internationally. We shouldn’t have an environment where it’s possible to steal from one retailer and [have it] end up on any other platform, any other large-scale, mainstream platform.”

Amazon said they invest more than $1 billion annually to prevent fraud on their website. 

“We use sophisticated detection and prevention solutions,” the company said in a statement.

Conservative media have been blaming rising retail crime rates on migrants

As reports of such retail crimes grew, conservatives claimed it was because of a growing number of migrants entering the country and breaking the law.

Right-wing news outlet the Daily Caller has repeatedly reported on so-called “gangs of illegal migrants” that roam from state to state in search of retail theft opportunities.

And the New York Post, which is also a right-wing publication, has devoted numerous headlines to vilifying migrants particularly for retail crimes, which one columnist even said are “turning cities into war zones.”

Now that Michelle and Kenneth Mack have been charged for their alleged roles as organizers of a nationwide retail theft ring, it’s unclear whether such conservative-led rhetoric will maintain the same energy it had while hastily blaming migrants wholesale. 

This is America.


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The post White Suburban Couple Accused In $8 ‘Smash-And-Grab’ Ring Of Crimes Conservatives Blamed On Migrants appeared first on NewsOne.

White Suburban Couple Accused In $8 ‘Smash-And-Grab’ Ring Of Crimes Conservatives Blamed On Migrants  was originally published on

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