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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of Connecticut

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, July 21, 2021

Hartford Woman Sentenced to Federal Prison for Role n Northeast "Grab and Go" Theft Scheme

Leonard C Boyle, Acting United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, announced that PAIGE JAMES, also known as “Ishaya James,” 28, of Hartford, was sentenced today by U.S. District Judge Vanessa L. Bryant in Hartford to 18 months of imprisonment, followed by three years of supervised release, for participating in an extensive commercial larceny spree.

This case stems from “Operation American Steal,” a long-term multi-agency investigation into numerous “grab and go” thefts from various retail fashion stores in Connecticut and nearby states.  A “grab-and-go” scheme is a type of theft where one or more perpetrators enter a retail store, grab as many items of clothing or other goods as they can carry, leave the store without paying for the merchandise, and depart in a waiting getaway vehicle.

James was part of a network of individuals who in 2019 and 2020 committed more than 50 grab and go thefts from Polo Ralph Lauren, T.J. Maxx, Balenciaga, Burberry, Macy’s, Marshalls, Dick’s Sporting Goods, Tommy Hilfiger and other stores in Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont, and New York.  They then transported the stolen merchandise to Connecticut and sold the items on the internet or the street.

James participated in at least 28 thefts resulting in losses of more than $90,000.  Restitution will be determined after additional court proceedings.

On September 15, 2020, a grand jury returned a six-count indictment charging James and seven other individuals.  James was arrested in Georgia on October 20, 2021.  On May 14, 2021, she pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to transport and possess stolen property.

James has been detained since her arrest.

This matter is being investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Hartford, New Canaan, Wrentham (Mass.), Auburn (Mass.) and Nassau County (N.Y.) Police Departments.  The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Margaret Donovan and Brendan Keefe.

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Updated July 21, 2021