Husband and Wife Charged in Organized Retail Theft Scheme
A Milford Township couple has been charged in a scheme to buy and sell stolen items out of their QMart-based business.
Michael Gill, 42, and Denise Marie Gill, 38, were arraigned Wednesday on counts of corrupt organizations, organized retail theft, receiving stolen property and related offenses stemming from a several-month probe of the operation.
Detectives from the Quakertown Borough Police Department and the Bucks County District Attorney’s Office Drug Strike Force found the Gills enlisted people suffering from opioid and methamphetamine addictions to steal health and beauty products from retail stores, which the couple then purchased at a fraction of the retail value and sold for a profit.
The Gills sold many of the stolen items through an eBay account associated with their store One Stop Health and Beauty Shop located at the Quakertown Farmers Market. The couple sometimes purchased stolen items at the store, and on other occasions took delivery of the items at other locations along John Fries Highway in Milford Township.
As part of the investigation, undercover law enforcement conducted multiple controlled sales of purportedly stolen items to the Gills. Police later recovered some of these items when executing search warrants at the Gills’ QMart store and County Line Road residence.
Michael Gill said he knew since at least December 2018 that he had been purchasing stolen items, according to a criminal complaint filed in the case. He said he provided lists of items he needed to some individuals, and that at least one person from whom he purchased stolen items once remarked after being paid that they could now purchase methamphetamine.
Gill reported making between $2,500 and $5,000 each weekend in sales, including through the sale of stolen items, and buying about $1,000 in products from private sellers each week, the complaint says.
Between March 2017 and March 2019, revenue from the eBay business came in at about $117,000.
Denise Gill, the primary operator of the eBay business, told investigators she cautioned her husband about paying people to steal items for resale after seeing a news story about the same practice, according to the complaint.
Asked about a link between drug users and the stolen items, the complaint says Denise Gill remarked that many people at QMart are “crackheads” with “two teeth” and commented “that’s what crackheads do.”
Quakertown Borough Police and Bucks County Detectives were assisted in the investigation by loss prevention representatives from Giant Food Stores, CVS and Target who donated health and beauty products that were represented as stolen goods during controlled sales, as well as asset protection representatives from eBay.
The case has been assigned for prosecution to Deputy District Attorney Edward M. Louka.
Contact: Edward M. Louka, 215.348.6896, firstname.lastname@example.org
Criminal charges are allegations subject to proof in court. Defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty.