Barrington man convicted of running $20 million retail theft ring
A Barrington man who authorities say ran a $20 million, nationwide retail crime ring now faces up to 25 years in federal prison, after a Texas jury convicted him of multiple felony charges.
Artur Gilowski, 48, was found guilty March 31 of conspiracy to commit interstate transportation of stolen property and conspiracy to commit mail fraud, after a four-day trial in Dallas, according to the U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Texas.
Gilowski was ordered detained immediately after the verdict, pending a sentencing hearing set for Aug. 2.
The conviction is the culmination of a five-year investigation first launched by Arlington Heights police after a residential burglary in December 2015. A witness to the burglary captured the license plate of the suspects' vehicle, later determined to have been registered under a false name and address by a car dealership in Chicago, according to police.
An investigation of the dealership led detectives to businesses in the Chicago and Dallas areas that operated as fences of stolen property, police said.
According to federal prosecutors, Gilowski's co-conspirators stole more than $20 million in items from retail stores across the country between September 2014 and September 2019, when they were indicted. The group targeted mostly small items, such as printer ink cartridges, light switches, pet products and small electronic devices, Arlington Heights police said.
They then shipped the items to Gilowski, who sold the stolen goods on e-commerce websites, generating more than $11 million in profits, prosecutors said.
The thieves traveled across the country in vehicles registered under false names and used "booster skirts" -- garments with concealment pouches for stolen goods -- and electronic transmitters designed to disrupt stores' anti-theft and loss-prevention measures, authorities said.
Using aliases, they rented storage lockers where they kept the stolen items until they could be shipped to customers in the U.S. and abroad, according to the U.S. attorney's office.
Gilowski created a network of online seller profiles, multiple bank accounts, and various companies registered in other people's names to conduct the sales and funnel the proceeds to himself, prosecutors said.
The evidence showed that Gilowski received more than $1 million cash from his crime ring, including $97,000 that was found in the center console of his truck -- which led one of his co-conspirators to testify at trial that Gilowski "treated money like trash," authorities said.
"Organized retail crime leads to consumers having to pay higher prices for goods, fewer job openings, and a decrease in consumer spending on legitimate goods that small-business owners and other retailers depend on for survival," Christopher Miller, acting special agent in charge Homeland Security Investigations in Dallas, said after the verdict. "Working alongside the U. S. Attorney's Office, U.S. Postal Inspection Service and Arlington Heights Police Department, we were able to secure today's conviction, and take another step in our ongoing fight against organized retail crime so consumers and retailers don't have to bear the brunt of those impacts."
Seven of Gilowski's co-conspirators have pleaded guilty to date, police said.