$5M 'Simple City' Theft Ring Shut Down in Md., Police Say - NBC4 Washington

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$5M 'Simple City' Theft Ring Shut Down in Md., Police Say

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    NEWSLETTERS

    More than a dozen people are facing charges in a massive theft ring that operated in suburban Maryland neighborhoods. The thieves targeted people for six years, officials said. Prince George's County Bureau Chief Tracee Wilkins reports. (Published Thursday, July 16, 2015)

    A well-organized criminal organization that robbed unsuspecting people in Prince George's County and across the D.C. area for six years was shut down Thursday, according to police and the FBI.

    Believed to be responsible for dozens of thefts, The Simple City criminal organization stole cars, electronics and wallets; burglarized businesses; looted ATMs and committed identity theft, Prince George's County Police and the FBI said Thursday.

    Fourteen people were indicted Monday in a racketeering conspiracy scheme officials believe netted $5 million, according to documents released Thursday.

    Law enforcement officials stormed into the homes of 12 suspects Thursday morning. Seven defendants were arrested, two were already in law enforcement custody and a manhunt is underway for five fugitives.

    The FBI is offering a reward of as much as $5,000 for information that leads to the arrest of Terrell Felder, Oluwasheun Morrisey and Edward Swails. The names of the other two fugitives were not released.

    Members of the ring committed crimes on regular schedules, starting early most mornings, officials said.

    "They were essentially running their own little crime school where they would discuss with each other what they were doing, what worked and what didn't and the schemes they had in mind," U.S. Attorney Rod Rosenstein said.

    Officials said the defendants were caught via surveillance of their cell phones and using their own posts to social media.

    Defendent Jeff "Fro" Crews sent a text message to a co-conspirator with three photos of a stolen 2014 Mercedes the co-conspirator wanted to buy, according to the U.S. Attorney's office.

    In another text message, a co-conspirator sent Crews a photo of two guns, offering to sell them to the 24-year-old for $1,200.

    The defendants in police custody on Thursday were:

    • Jeff "Fro" Crews, 24, of Washington, D.C.
    • Kwasi Crichlow, 21, of Washington, D.C.
    • Earl "Frank" Ferguson, 32, of Upper Marlboro, Md.
    • Lamonte "Tiggy Stacks" Henson, 23, of Upper Marlboro, Md.
    • Stefon "Stef Luva" Janey, 22, of Marlow Heights, Md.
    • Michael "Mikey" Prince, 21, of Suitland, Md.
    • Sylvia "Deez Nuts" Price, 49, of Suitland, Md.
    • Jessica "Jazz" Rubio, 38, of Washington, D.C.
    • Shatei "Bootsie" Tucker, 54, of Washington, D.C.

    The defendants are believed to be responsible for robbing a couple's car in a cemetery parking lot last week.

    They each face a maximum of 20 years in prison and may be required to forfeit the $5 million they're accused of generating through robberies and the sale of cars, electronics and victims' personal information.