PETTY THIEVES ARE ORGANIZED CRIMINALS, TOO

Dallas’ own The Ghali Organization, named after its founder, Mohammed K. Ghali, stole, repackaged, and resold baby formula, razor blades, and nicotine gum until the police arrested the gang members in 2003. The FBI says Ghali and groups like it have stolen as much $30 billion from retailers. But now retailers are fighting back, creating crime databases and sharing information across retail chains.

That’s what made The Ghali so successful: It could hit up a dozen stores in a day and no owner would think a syndicate was at work, because no owner would share information with any other.

Admit it: There’s a part of you that admires the ingenuity of Mohammed Ghali. I remember in seventh grade reading The Tell-Tale Heart. Afterward we had to write an essay on the perfect crime–what we thought it would be, and how to carry it out. Ghali comes closest, I think, to carrying it out. Right up until he was caught, that is. He’s now serving 14 years in federal prison.

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