The Bonsall woman is accused of flying shoplifters across the nation to steal from Ulta stores and then sell the items online.
SAN DIEGO COUNTY, Calif. — A San Diego County woman has been arrested for her role in leading a nationwide shoplifting ring worth more than $8 million in beauty products, according to federal search warrants obtained by CBS 8.
Federal agents identified Bonsall resident, Michelle Mack as the head of the criminal enterprise.
According to the search warrants, Mack paid as many as 12 people to steal from Ulta Beauty stores, as well as other retail outlets, and ship them to her Bonsall post office box.
In certain cases, Mack allegedly purchased plane tickets, rented cars and paid for hotels for the shoplifters who worked under her.
CBS 8 has learned Ulta Beauty worked with authorities on the investigation into Mack.
“We can confirm that Ulta Beauty partnered with law enforcement on this investigation but cannot share any details at this time as the case is still being processed,” an Ulta Beauty spokesperson said in a statement to CBS 8.
“At Ulta Beauty, we have a dedicated nationwide team of investigators who work closely with various law enforcement agencies and other retailers to solve complex cases involving organized theft operations. We are deeply committed to this issue and to ensuring a safe working environment for our associates and shopping environment for our guests.”
Mack would then sell the stolen cosmetic items on Amazon under her company name, Online Makeup Store.
The store, according to state business records, was registered to Mack under the name, 95 & Sunny Inc.
The search warrants reveal that the investigation began in September 2021 when California Highway Patrol Officers began investigating 12 individuals who committed more than 230 thefts at Ulta Beauty stores in Southern California, including stores in San Diego County.
After the investigation started, two of the suspected shoplifters were arrested for shoplifting at Ulta stores on the East Coast.
One of the women said a woman in California would provide them with a list of retail stores to target, items to steal and the price she would pay for the items.
A search of the woman’s phone revealed numerous social media messages from a woman later identified as Bonsall resident, Michelle Mack.
According to the search warrants, officers then discovered that Mack was the head of an Amazon Marketplace store that had listings for over 300 cosmetic items.
Reads the warrant, “The items listed for sale were nearly 50% off the actual retail price, which was included in the sales listing. This steep discount suggested the items were being fenced.”
The investigation found that Mack’s “Online Makeup Store” had documented nearly $2 million in sales in 2022.
“Amazon also provided sales records for Online Makeup Store, which described the 022 reporting on MACK’s 1099-K as $1,890,887.82. Since the inception of MACK’s Amazon sales platform in 2012, MACK has sold nearly $8,000,000.00 worth of cosmetic items through the site,” reads the warrant.
On Dec. 6, 2023, officers and federal agents raided Mack’s Bonsall residence and according to the warrants arrested Mack.
At the Bonsall residence, law enforcement “located and seized hundreds of parcels prepped for shipment that would be ultimately mailed at the local Post Office,” said the warrant.
Agents also found a “mini-store” of stolen goods and cosmetics worth approximately $350,000.
In October 2023, San Diego County District Attorney Summer Stephan’s office mentioned a spike in organized retail theft rings, naming an Ulta store in San Marcos that had been robbed of thousands of dollars in merchandise from a “team of thieves running an organized retail theft ting across Southern California,” according to a press release.
CBS 8 reached out to the San Diego County District Attorney’s Office to see whether it was the same crime ring. The DA’s Office did not respond in time for publication. This article will be updated when and if the office responds.
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