$7 Million Shoplifting Spree Sends Couple To JailBy: Toni Matthews-El - March 11, 2014
One couple’s series of five-fingered discounts has come to a screeching halt as they now find themselves charged with stealing several million dollars worth of goods across the United States.
Branko Bogdanov, 58, and his wife, Lela Bogdanov, 52, are said to have worked with their daughter, Julia Bogdanov, 34, to steal merchandise and then sell the items on eBay.
The Yugoslav natives were arrested a week ago in their home in Northbrook, Illinois, an upscale Chicago suburb.
At present, none of the accused have entered a plea. US Magistrate Judge Michael Mason has decided that Lela and Branko Bogdanov will remain in jail as they are major flight risks. It has not been decided whether or not the daughter will be released ahead of the upcoming trial.
According to prosecutor Renato Marriotti, the alleged shoplifters are not only guilty of a decade long run as thieves, they are also in the country illegally. He also mentioned they have arrest records for previous crimes.
Branko Bogdanov claimed that he was in debt $28,000. However, the prosecutor said that he owns a million dollar home, multiple vehicles that include a Lexus and Corvette. The suspect is accused of trying to mislead officials.
Also being misleading, according to Marriotti, is wife Lela Bogdanov. She is said to have exaggerated her illness in court, slowly shuffling in a bid for sympathy. This was contrasted with video footage of the woman dashing through stores with stolen goods.
It is clear that the pair intend to try and use whatever they can to their advantage to try and convince the American justice system that they are deserving of leniency. On the other hand, law enforcement officials are not amused, and do not trust the pair.
After complaints by companies such as Toys-R-Us and Barnes & Noble about a series of thefts throughout their stores, the investigation eventually lead to the Bogdanovs. The three family members each face a single count of interstate transportation of stolen property.
The maximum for this count if they are found guilty is ten years in prison.
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