4 Georgians convicted in $900,000 multi-state Sam’s Club robbery ring

COLUMBUS, Georgia (WRBL) – Four people in Georgia have been convicted in federal court for their involvement in a robbery ring targeting Sam’s Club stores in multiple states and stealing nearly $1 million worth of merchandise.

According to a press release from the United States Attorney’s Office for the Intermediate District of Georgia, on April 27, 2022, U.S. District Judge Clay Land issued sentences against Brian Cowman, Marcel Crawford, Ernest Mitchell, and Mildred Alarcon.

“Brian Cowman took advantage of this network of thieves, raking in hundreds of thousands of dollars, even making a down payment for a new home with the illegal products. These types of large-scale schemes have negative consequences for those of us who do the right thing, including increasing commodity prices, closing businesses and losing jobs,” said U.S. Attorney Peter D. Leary. “We will take the necessary steps to hold accountable the individuals who defraud our citizens.”

Cowman, 46, of Fortson, was sentenced to 46 months in prison followed by three years of supervised release after previously pleading guilty to two counts of conspiracy to transport stolen property.

Crawford, 68, of Columbus, was sentenced to 33 months in prison followed by three years of probation.

Mitchell, 55, of Columbus, was sentenced to 51 months in prison followed by three years of supervised release after previously pleading guilty to one count of conspiracy to transport stolen property.

Alarcon, 48, of Fortson, had previously pleaded guilty to one count of misrepresentation and was sentenced to three years probation.

According to officials, between March 2018 and February 2019, Cowman and Crawford conspired to transport and sell stolen goods from numerous Sam’s Club stores in the Southeast and Midwest, Mitchell and Alarcon operating under their direction.

The Sam’s Clubs stores targeted by the theft ring were in Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Florida, Tennessee, North Carolina, South Carolina, Ohio, Indiana and Kentucky.

The stolen items included ink cartridges, Bose speakers, razors, DVDs, as well as tick and flea medicine and pet collars, officials said. Sam’s Club suffered a loss of $900,567 due to the thefts.

Officials said many of the stolen items were sold on Cowman’s eBay store known as “rockislandoutdoorsllc”. Cowman made at least 6,474 sale transactions between March 2017 and February 2019.

Officials said Cowman is known to have transferred a total of $412,900 from his PayPal account to his personal bank account in 2018 and the first quarter of 2019. A federal search warrant executed at Cowman’s home and warehouse resulted in the recovery of three boxes full of stolen goods as well as stolen items. items valued at approximately $61,000.

The following two co-defendants were indicted by a federal grand jury and remain at large:

Christopher Brown, 50, of Phenix City, Alabama, and Orlando Brooks, 53, of Columbus, are both charged with one count of conspiracy to transport stolen property. If convicted, Brown and Brooks face a maximum sentence of five years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000.


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