GRESHAM, Ore. (KOIN) – Organized retail theft investigators have arrested a 44-year-old man who is accused of committing nearly 80 separate thefts from Safeway grocery stores in the metro area.
Robert Christopher Bagby is scheduled to be arraigned on Wednesday afternoon at the Multnomah County Justice Center. Gresham Police arrested him on Tuesday and charged him with five counts of aggravated first-degree theft.
Police spokesperson Sgt. John Rasmussen said via email that investigators have linked Bagby to a total of $6,000 in thefts and have identified a total of 79 different cases involving Bagby. The investigation spanned from October 2016 to Bagby’s arrest on Tuesday. The Safeway stores included ones in Portland and East Multnomah County.
Jail records show that Bagby has been convicted of 7 felonies and 12 misdemeanors. Many of the cases are for theft. Court records show he pleaded guilty earlier this year after being caught stealing from Walmart. Rasmussen said Bagby served jail time for stealing in 2012.
Safeway, along with other retailers and law enforcement organizations, has continued to urge for legislative action to address the growing organized retail crime crisis. The grocery store reports ORC costs the retail industry approximately $35 billion annually in stolen goods and products.
Albertsons, the parent company of Safeway, has taken an aggressive stance at combating organized retail theft. They have teamed up closely with law enforcement. Working together, the task forces work with other retail organizations to share information about potential suspects and patterns.
In our area, there is the Northwest Organized Retail Crime Alliance, which is a coalition of investigators from private enterprise, law enforcement and prosecutors.
Organized theft and resale of retail products on the black market has grown substantially in the past year, particularly in Oregon and Southwest Washington. Most often, investigators see the illicit profits used to fund drug use and other illegal activities.
In a statement released last year, Safeway officials said the theft of products results in lost tax revenues for government in the hundreds of millions of dollars each year. In the past, investigators have said that many stolen goods are being sold over the Internet and at flea markets around the country without consumers knowing the products could be stolen or counterfeit.
Safeway has said in the past that it is particularly concerned about stolen goods with expiration dates, such as infant formula or other consumer health products, where product tampering can impact the public health.
Bagby’s bail is set at $100,000.