Police: Shoplifting Ring Targeted Cabela's, Other Gun Stores
Updated: Monday, April 29 2013, 08:16 PM EDT
COLUMBUS -- Police say they've put a stop to a shoplifting ring that used stolen goods to obtain guns and ammunition from stores in Columbus, as well as other parts of Ohio and neighboring states.
James Strait faced a judge Monday accused of engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity. Police call Strait, 35, the "ring leader" of a group that steals from businesses such as Cabela's and Dick's Sporting Goods, then returns the stolen merchandise for store credit, which is used to buy guns and ammunition.
Police say Strait bought at least seven firearms over the last six months, including rifles and handguns. His neighbors on Seattle Slew Dr. say they would often see cars with out-of-town license plates in Strait's driveway.
Police say Strait rented a car with accomplice Hannah Beeley this weekend to steal from stores in northern Ohio and southern Michigan.
Officers stopped Strait and Beeley Friday, and said they found stolen items in their car, along with ammunition.
Police said they searched Strait's home Saturday, where they found three guns and dozens of records of store credit. Investigators said Strait would not help officers find the other guns he purchased.
Beeley, 21, was also charged with a felony, and was released on bond Friday. The judge set Strait's bail amount at $100,000.
Reporter: Lisa Rantala
Web Producer: Ken Hines