Mother and Son Accused of Stealing $2 Million of Merchandise from Toys R’ Us
It is always nice to see a mother and her son spending some quality time together. That is unless they are stealing millions of dollars of toys.
Last week, the Broward Sheriff’s Organized Retail Crimes Unit arrested Ignatius “Michael” Pollara, 46, and his mother, Margaret Pollara, 70, for allegedly stealing more than $2 million worth of merchandise from Toys R’ Us stores all across the country.
According to police, the Pollaras used a system called “box stuffing,” where they would walk into a store, pick up a cheap item in a big box, empty it and hide it somewhere in the store. Then, they would load the box up with higher ticket items, seal it and pay only the cost of the cheaper, discarded item.
The Pollaras' racket continued as Michael and his mother then sold the stolen merchandise over the Internet, allowing them to earn enough money to take their stuffing scheme all over the world.
"He was proud of it. This is his job. I go to work with the sheriff's office, he goes to work and steals," said Sergeant Rich Rossman. "He was due to leave Tuesday. He was going to Australia."
Humorously, it was a reward card that led to the decline of Michael Pollara’s scam, because, according to Toys R’ Us investigator Patrick Fairley, he insisted on receiving his rewards points for all of the small ticket items that he purchased.
After authorities tracked his reward card usage, they found that he had been to 139 Toys R’ Us stores in 27 states, spending nearly $7,000 on 175 purchases.
Court records indicate that Michael Pollara faces 13 counts for grand theft, criminal conspiracy, dealing in stolen property, felony petty theft, and organized scheme to defraud. He is being held in the Broward County Main Jail on $318,500 bond.
His mother faces six counts of grand theft, petty theft, criminal conspiracy and organized scheme to defraud. She is currently being held at undisclosed detention facility on $29,100 bail.