AG: 'Operation Sticky Fingers' breaks up massive retail theft ring

MORNINGSIDE HEIGHTS, Manhattan (WABC) -- Authorities broke up what they are calling a massive decades-old retail crime ring based in Manhattan Wednesday morning.

Attorney General Eric Schneiderman announced a 41-count indictment involving a dozen people who allegedly infiltrated New York and 27 other states across the country to steal electronics and other items to be resold online.

Operation Sticky Fingers reportedly netted 5,300 stolen items and millions of dollars across more than half the country, and in all, 12 people are under arrest, accused of raking in $12 million.

The suspects are identified as:

1. 64-year-old Richard Rimbaugh, AKA "The General"
2. 62-year-old George Athanasatos, AKA "The Field Marshall"
3. 31-year-old George Rapatsouleas, AKA "Skipper," AKA "Nipplehead"
4. 35-year-old Krissylee Harris, AKA "Princess"
5. 23-year-old Nusret Srdanovic, AKA "Monte"
6. 53-year-old Roger Ringhiser, AKA "Captain Rog"
7. 59-year-old Frank Albergo
8. 22-year-old Kevin Cerrato
9. 38-year-old Gregory Anastasiou, AKA "Captain Frank"
10. 41-year-old Joseph Pooler, AKA "Baby Arm Johnson"
11. 56-year-old Robert Scarano, AKA "Reno"
12. 28-year-old Giovanna Bonello

Rimbaugh was the alleged mastermind of the operation, which authorities say used code words like "boosters," "bazookas" and "kryptonite" and was run out of his first-floor apartment on West 112th Street in Morningside Heights.

Schneiderman said the takedown was the result of a nearly year-long investigation. The suspects are accused of targeting stores like Staples, Office Depot, Best Buy and other retailers, wearing custom-made high-capacity vests that deactivated security alarms.

Step two of the alleged operation involved Rimbaugh selling the stolen merchandise online under a fake business called American Media Soft. Since 2012, officials say this ring sold more than $12 million worth of stolen goods on Amazon and eBay .

In addition to electronics, officials say the suspects stole and resold flea collars. They're facing enterprise corruption and other charges, and if convicted, each defendant faces between 8 and 25 years in prison.
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