A Florida mother and son's out-of-the-box thinking has landed them in jail for allegedly stealing more than $2 million in toys from stores in 27 states.
Investigators say Margaret Pollara, 70, was the lookout while her son Michael Ignatius Pollara, 46, pulled a fast one on retailers: He allegedly emptied oversized toy boxes and stuffed high-priced items inside, then resold his stolen booty online, Miami's WTVJ reports.
"It was one of his goals to visit all 50 states and commit thefts in all 50 states, which he was very proud of -- he did succeed," a sheriff's sergeant told WTVJ.
Michael Pollara's stolen toy reboxing scheme allegedly took place over the past 10 years at a variety of retailers, an arrest affidavit states, according to WTVJ.
Pollara allegedly hit 139 Toys "R" Us stores in 27 states from Arizona to Maine; authorities tracked him via his Toys "R" Us reward card, CBS News reports. Pollara also hit Kmart, Sears, Walmart, Target, Macy's, and CVS Pharmacy stores from coast to coast.
From his alleged CVS thefts alone, Pollara told investigators he made enough cash to pay for a trip to Hawaii, WTVJ reports. Pollara's plunder also paid for trips to Russia and China, along with an upcoming trip to Australia, according to CBS News.
Michael Pollara faces 13 counts of theft, dealing in stolen property, and criminal conspiracy. His mother Margaret faces six counts. It's not clear how often the mother-son pair allegedly worked together.
In an alleged conspiracy, prosecutors must prove that at least two people agreed on a scheme for an unlawful purpose, and took some action toward the scheme's completion. For Margaret Pollara, that alleged "action" could be as simple as being a lookout.
News reports did not specify which of Margaret and Michael Pollara's alleged stolen-toy reboxing incidents got them arrested on multiple felony counts. But considering how many states they allegedly hit, more charges could potentially follow.
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