Local News

Raleigh police bust major theft ring

Posted May 6, 2014

— Investigators believe they have stopped a major theft ring involving nearly 2,000 items stolen from a Raleigh Sam’s Club to be sold at a local flea market.

Edgar Armando Alvarez, 38, is accused of leading the organized retail theft ring where thieves took merchandise from area stores, sold them to Alvarez for cash, who then sells them at Watson’s Flea Market on Rock Quarry Road.

Authorities were tipped about the ring after Travis Ashley Seamster, 30, and Dana Brooke Whitley, 33, were arrested on April 18 on shoplifting and armed robbery charges. A security guard at the Sam's Club on South Saunders Street confronted a man and a woman about shoplifting and the man pulled a knife before the pair dropped the merchandise and ran, police said.

Seamster told investigators he sold stolen merchandise to Alvarez for cash multiple times within the past year, and did so under the watch of Raleigh detectives in April, according to a search warrant.

“The cooperating defendant delivered numerous new hammers, tape measures and gloves for $160,” the warrant said.

Alvarez, who was arrested after the transaction, is charged with organized retail theft, possession of stolen goods/property and receiving stolen goods/property.

Police seized over 1,900 items from Alvarez’ home, 3609 Cove Drive, on April 19. All the items were taken from the Sam’s Club on South Saunders Street, according to the warrant, including:

  • Tools, including hammers, saw blades, tool sets, tape measure, spray guns, extension cords and utility knives
  • Electronic items, including headsets, phone chargers, video game controllers, external hard drives, memory cards, batteries, cell phones, GPS devices, laptops and cameras
  • Hygiene products, including shampoo, razors and deodorant sticks
  • Vehicle items, including headlight bulbs and fuel injector cleaner
  • Clothes, including pants, shirts, dresses and flip flops
  • Other items, including cell phone cases, gum, bottles of over the counter medicine and watches

Police believe Alvarez stored the stolen goods in his home before selling them at the flea market.

Alvarez, Seamster and Whitley are scheduled to be in court May 12. More arrests are likely, investigators said.


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  • anon022 May 7, 2014

    That's a ton of merchandise stolen. Sounds like the security there needs some beefing up. Apparently nobody is watching those cameras!

  • LetsBeFair May 7, 2014

    .. and he would have gotten away with it if it weren't for those meddling kids!! shaggy!!

  • Brenda Lawrence May 7, 2014
    user avatar

    "Nearly 2,000 items taken from Sams Club!?! I would say the security guard needs to be fired and the guys who watch the cameras at that store need to be replaced. This Sams Club needs new management if they allowed that much merchandise get away by the same people." ... I was thinking the same thing. Heck, maybe I'll just steal my groceries from now on!!

  • Alexia Proper May 7, 2014
    user avatar

    View quoted thread

    I'm not sure what's worse. The pirated goods referenced in one of those links you have or the fact that the Secretary of State suggested that the piracy and counterfeit "pipelines" can lead to human trafficking. How silly. Knockoff products can be purchased daily online (eg, eBay), often from sellers in China. It's illegal, but not like what the Secretary describes at all. Oh, and her comment about knock-off extension cords is really funny. I guess she doesn't shop at Walmart and see all the cheaply-made cords sold there.

  • stellabella May 7, 2014

    Nearly 2,000 items taken from Sams Club!?! I would say the security guard needs to be fired and the guys who watch the cameras at that store need to be replaced. This Sams Club needs new management if they allowed that much merchandise get away by the same people.

  • iopsyc May 7, 2014

    View quoted thread

    No. Stealing things from stores and selling them is illegal.

  • bmac813 May 7, 2014

    I can't believe they arrested someone. When I was in Business I had Three Trucks Stolen and My Equipment, There was never anyone Arrested. In a matter of Fact there was never anyone Questioned who worked for Me. OH WELL

  • same ole story May 7, 2014

    What a dim bulb... The main thought of a theft ring was stealing from Sams club. What was the back up plan ripping off the blue light special at K-mart?????

  • rduwxboy May 6, 2014

    I can't believe Watson's Flea Market is still in business. If it wasn't in the part of town it is in, it would be gone by now.

  • Greg Boop May 6, 2014
    user avatar

    It is time to shut down Watson's Flea Market. WRAL and all the local media outlets have stories extending back for years about all the crime occurring there - counterfeit wares, murder, stolen property being sold, and and endless amount of traffic and zoning violations.

    I do not believe one legitimate item has ever been sold at Watson's Flea Market. It is a blight on the community and needs to go.