A Shippensburg couple is being held on $1 million bail each after an early morning raid by the Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS) on Monday, Nov. 11.
On Sunday, Nov. 10, the owners of Weekend Warrior military surplus store Denise A. Russell, 44, and Gary Lee Russell, 47, allegedly bought $75,000 worth of military uniforms and equipment from an undercover NCIS agent, according to court documents filed in District Judge H. Anthony Adams’ office.
As they purchased the supposedly stolen items, undercover agents observed other goods that were stolen and bought by the Russells on eBay, according to the warrant.
The Russells both indicated they were aware that they were purchasing stolen merchandise and that they wanted to purchase more items in the future, according to The Patriot-News.
The Patriot-News also reported Denise Russell paid the undercover agents for the delivery with two bank bags full of cash.
The Russells loaded the merchandise on a truck that undercover agents followed back to the Russells’ home on Whitmer Road where they conducted a search warrant and recovered the property.
At 12:15 a.m. on Monday, police vehicles surrounded the Russells’ store at 12 West King St. Local Shippensburg police and state police from Carlisle, according to The Shippensburg News-Chronicle, assisted NCIS authorities.
“We provided manpower and we provided back-up for the investigation, but the Navy was the lead,” said Fred Scott, chief of Shippensburg Police.
“We’ve seen stolen property, but not to this magnitude or anything like this. This is a first for us with federal property,” Scott said.
The case traces back to North Carolina where eight U.S. Marines were involved in “a complex conspiracy to break into U.S. government buildings, steal U.S. government property and sell it for profit,” according to the warrant.
A few of the Marines agreed to be informants for the NCIS to recover the property they sold to multiple buyers through the Internet.
The warrant says one of the informants identified Denise Russell to NCIS agents as someone who had purchased about $37,280 worth of stolen property from him.
According to CBS21, the couple’s attorney is Karl Rominger, who recently represented Jerry Sandusky.
The Russells were arraigned in front of Magisterial District Judge Paul Fegley at 6:45 a.m. last Monday.
A preliminary hearing is scheduled for Thursday, Nov. 21 in front of Adams.
They are charged with two counts each of corrupt organizations and three counts each of receiving stolen property and dealing in proceeds of unlawful activity, according to court records.