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Mom, dad, daughter accused in $7M shoplift spree

Family Used Special Skirt During Nationwide Shoplifting Spree

CHICAGO (AP) - A father, mother and daughter from a posh Chicago suburb stole $7 million in merchandise during a decadelong shoplifting spree - traveling to stores nationwide and targeting dolls, toys, cosmetics and other valuables - according to a federal complaint released Wednesday.

The three were arrested earlier this week at their $1.3 million Northbrook home after returning from a three-day trip through Oklahoma, Texas and Louisiana, where authorities say they shoplifted from stores. Working in tandem, the family traveled from their Chicago-area residence to hit businesses in multiple states, including Maryland, Tennessee and Florida, according to the 20-page complaint.

Branko Bogdanov, 58, Lela Bogdanov, 52, and their 34-year-old daughter, Julia Bogdanov, are charged with one count each of interstate transportation of stolen property. They made initial appearances Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Chicago, but did not enter pleas; they'll be held at least until a detention hearing next week. Someone who answered a phone at their Northbrook residence declined any comment

Lela Bogdanov frequently donned a long black skirt with large compartments sewn on the inside during the alleged shoplifting binges and was caught on surveillance cameras leaving some stores with her skirt looking notably fuller than when she entered, the complaint says.

Standing in orange jail clothes Wednesday in federal court, Lela Bogdanov wiped away tears as U.S. Magistrate Judge Michael Mason explained her rights. She followed the proceedings through a Romani interpreter.

An unnamed cooperating witness bought many of the stolen items - which included everything from American Girl dolls and Furby robotic toys to coffee and steak knives - at the Bogdanov home, then sold them online through eBay, the complaint says. On their own, Bogdanovs directly sold more than $690,000 in merchandise through eBay, the complaint says.

The United States Secret Service led the investigation after Barnes and Noble Inc. and Toys R Us Inc. contacted the agency about what the complaint describes as "a huge loss in merchandise." With the help of those companies and eBay, authorities traced stolen items to an the online trading account of the cooperating witnesses, who, in turn, agreed to help in the investigation of the Bogdanovs.

Speaking to reporters later Wednesday, the head of the Secret Service office in Chicago, Frank P. Benedetto, said large-scale shoplifting ultimately hurts both stores and their consumers.

"If this type of crime continues unchecked, the costs ... will be passed from the retailer to the common shopper," he said.

A conviction on the one count of interstate transportation of stolen property carries sentence of up to 10 years.


Follow Michael Tarm at www.twitter.com/mtarm.

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keith.bartlett March 06 2014 at 5:48 PM

Northbrooke Illinois...... Home of a Neiman Marcus store. Home and state of illegal aliens. Not the Bakarofts sies. They are for Yugoslavia but not considered here illegally. Yet they are a flight risk? Not even Chicago can come to grips with the truth of the illegal aliens problems. Nor can AOL.

You see the carpet layer by trade probably screwed little old ladies out of carpet jobs around the country. Normally they are contractors and asphalt driveway installers. All invited here by the federal government under what authority.

7 million known of in stolen goods. Their teams are all over the country doing this daily. You see when an illegal comes to the country they have no respect for the law. That is the first bad start but the Feds and AOL want to ignore that. They don't see coming here illegally as a problem.

Illegals are like children. You don't punish the misbehavior then they start doing other bad things. Then when you finally start telling them no, they start throwing a tantrum by way of rallies and lawsuits. So here we are now. They feel they and all their relatives, friends and dogs are entitled to come here and bleed the country dry because idiot politicians and companies like AOL support that.

Do Not tell me this is a minority of the problem. Over 30% in prisons are illegals. When they get caught they all of a sudden can't speak English.

You have Gypsies stealing and robbing. You have Mexicans stealing, and taking items from the companies they work for. You see company owners. Don't be stupid. Pedro that works for you for low pay. He hates yours Gringo butt. He will find a way to get his pay. Use your equipment and supplies. Take a few items for friends every month. Trade stuff from your store with another illegal at another place to get what they want.

Small case but to make the point. 3 Mickey D employees walk out of the store with bags of food. They walk over to another food shop and come back with different food. It's called theft. Yes they were all hispanic.

Bartering is one thing but theft is another. Legally being in the country is one thing. Being here illegal is against THE LAW. Deport all of them. Stop all immigration. No Amnesty. No Dream Act. I am tired of our kids getting screwed in favor of illegal aliens.

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disphf March 06 2014 at 2:21 PM

Gypsies, they're everywhere...

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wal5we disphf March 06 2014 at 3:51 PM

Who do you think makes up the republican party?...... LOL

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Action Jackson wal5we March 06 2014 at 4:25 PM

Really glad its not you!

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mmilosr March 06 2014 at 2:04 PM

These are Romanian born gypsies, lived in the former Yugoslavia. Anyone who has been to Europe can easily identify them on the streets. They work in groups, involving adults and children begging for money while someone in their gang pick pockets you. They work all the tourist sights. This is how they make their living.

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Anne mmilosr March 06 2014 at 2:34 PM

Why do we continue to grant visas to these people? Sometimes "profiles" are valid and we have an obligation to US citizens. Enough already!

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lov2elkhnt March 06 2014 at 2:04 PM

Though this family may be beyond knowing any shame, show their pictures and attempt to shame them. Do a perp walk on the net to let all venders and neighbors know their faces. Show that these are the people who cause law abiding folks such as we who and why things cost more for us due to their theft.

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rosem1929 March 06 2014 at 4:08 PM

Romania huh... we have a huge batch of them here in Texas as gypsies...stealing and begging at churches. They say they can't speak English, have Romania ID cards, TX vehicles or CA vehicles and FL insurance. They use their kids like sodder to get money. They push their baby carriages in front of vehicles and tell the drivers to give them money or they will call the police. They say they want money for food but instead when offered food won't take it. It is a racket and they are a bunch of thieves...of course in the middle east graft is a daily way of life...I had friends that were over there and it is as natural as water. No big deal to rip off non family / gypies. Way of life...so why not do it in the US.... send them all back to where they came from...

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alal66 rosem1929 March 06 2014 at 7:04 PM

If you send them all back to where they came from, than you've to send troops there, too. Everything needs a balance, US is not on the other planet, it is a part of this world, as well as gypsies. Close the borders and don't let anyone in or out, that was Soviet's politics and it didn't work, we are not communists after all. I hope you don't want us to be like North Korea? that's where you can't find any gypsies.

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disphf alal66 March 08 2014 at 10:29 AM

There are lots of places you can't find Romanian Gypsies. Wherever there is no money to be falsely begged or just outright stolen, you will never find a gypsy. Theft and deception is DEEPLY ingrained in their culture. (Not all Romanians are low-life gypsies)

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jmh0628 March 06 2014 at 2:24 PM

Find it amusing they spoke English well enough to negotiate the purchase of a 1.2 million dollar home but need an interpreter in court. Typical.

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sfrank7773 jmh0628 March 06 2014 at 6:28 PM

Whats more interesting is how did they pay for the home? Cash? How did they explain to the escrow company paying in cash if that is what occurred? Or did they just deposit the cash into a bank account and numerous cash deposits didn't raise a red flag with the bank. Guess the IRS can get a crack at them too for unreported income from their ebay sales.

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nlhredlion March 06 2014 at 12:44 PM

Good by America and hellow Yugoslavia to bad so sad hope you enjoyed your stay.

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bob nlhredlion March 06 2014 at 1:53 PM

I guess they did untill they were caught. It was at least seven years,

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strutnrut13 March 06 2014 at 1:09 PM


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Innkeeper strutnrut13 March 06 2014 at 1:13 PM

Contact Pamela--she'll tell you how to make $90 an hour. Why can't AOL get rid of these people?

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falls.vacuum March 06 2014 at 1:01 PM

Can't speak English but own a home , luxury cars and travel the U.S daily , why do I work and pay taxes ?

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2 replies
cathy falls.vacuum March 06 2014 at 1:34 PM

Because you're honest.

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1 reply
bob cathy March 06 2014 at 1:44 PM

good answer

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sfrank7773 falls.vacuum March 06 2014 at 6:30 PM

Can't speak English but got a drivers license; how does that happen?

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ditto2u March 06 2014 at 12:47 PM

Welcome to America -please steal our stuff and don't bother learning our language. This is pathetic that they have been doing this for years yet needed an interpreter ??

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1 reply
bob ditto2u March 06 2014 at 1:51 PM

I live in Florida, no I mean cuba/mexico. Sometimes it seems that I live in a foreign country,

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aol~~ 1209600


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