A Northbrook, Illinois couple and their adult daughter have been arrested for pulling in $4.2 million on eBay by selling off toys and other merchandise they’d stolen during a 10-year shoplifting odyssey. Police arrested and charged Branko Bogdanov, 58, his wife Lela Bogdanov, 52, and their daughter Julia Bogdanov, 34, have been charged with interstate transportation. Federal prosecutors said the trio began their most recent stealing spree on Feb. 17 in Oklahoma, and continued at malls in Texas, Louisiana, Maryland, Florida, and Tennessee before returning home on Feb. 21.
According to the complaint filed, the family targeted Barnes and Noble and Toys R Us stealing items that included American Girl dolls, Furbies and Legos. The complaint states that Lela wore a long skirt “that appeared larger and fuller when she exited” the stores than when she entered. The skirt was seized as part of the investigation and continued a lining “capable of containing multiple rectangular objects.” The family worked with another person who acted as their “fence” and sold the items on eBay, the statement said. Over the last decade, their merchandise had a “retail value of $7.1 million and sold for a combined total of $4.2 million,” according to the statement. Using surveillance video from the stores, traffic stops in other states and cooperation with the fourth individual, authorities were able to track the Bogdanovs illegal activities.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. A court-appointed attorney for Branco Bogdanov says his client appears unfazed by the serious charges. “He seemed to me to pretty upbeat and thinking this wasn’t going to be a big deal,” said defense attorney Michael Falconer.