Special skirt allegedly aided family in multi-state shoplifting spree

Three family members were arrested in connection with a shop lifting and fencing spree that spanned nearly a decade, at least three states and valued $7.1 million dollars.

58-year-old Branko Bogdanov and his 52-year-old wife Lela and their 34-year-old daughter Julia of Northbrook have been charged with interstate transportation of stolen property, according U.S. Attorney’s Office.

According to a statement, the Bogdanovs’ “shopping odyssey” began on February 17 in Oklahoma, continued in to Texas and ended in Louisiana on February 20th.    They were arrested Tuesday in the Northbrook home.

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.

The family is due back in court Monday for a detention hearing.

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