Industry / Legal / Retail

Diamond District Pawnshop Owner Charged With Running Retail Theft Ring


Roni Rubinov, owner of a pawnshop in New York City’s Diamond District, has been charged with masterminding a theft ring that stole an estimated $3.8 million in merchandise from more than 60 different retailers.

According to an indictment unsealed last week, the theft gang consisted of over 30 shoplifters—who were called “boosters”—that snatched everything from high-end designer clothing to mundane items like gift cards, over-the-counter medications, and Gap jeans.

The boosters then allegedly hawked the pilfered items to two 47th Street stores—New Liberty Loans and Romanov Gold Buyers—for a fraction of their retail value. Afterward, Rubinov sold them on an eBay storefront, Treasure-Deals-USA, a statement said.

(Despite the location,  jewelry and diamonds do not appear to be a main focus of the scheme, though the indictment claims members of the crew stole at least one Rolex watch, worth $8,000, and some costume jewelry.)

Authorities have seized more than $3.8 million in stolen merchandise from Rubinov and his associates, who reaped $1.37 million from the scheme, they said.

Law enforcement clearly considered this an important case; the press conference announcing it was attended by both New York State Attorney General Letitia James and New York City Mayor Eric Adams.

Nicholas Fiore, commanding officer of the central robbery division of the New York Police Department, said at the press conference that Rubinov collected so much inventory, he even considered opening up a department store.

Rubinov preyed “on the weak, on people who have tremendous narcotics history, tremendous petty crime history, and was able to pay them,” he charged. “He knew what was a hot item, [so the] perpetrator knew to go to get this certain item.

“There was nothing too big or too small for him,” he added. “He took [coffee] pods, and he sold K cups.”

Along with Rubinov, the New York State Attorney General’s office also indicted 40 other suspects for their participation in the alleged scheme.

During the press conference, Adams called out Amazon, eBay, and “social media” for allowing illegal activity to flourish on their sites.

“There needs to be a red flag,” he said. “If these items are consistently being sold by one vendor, they’re not manufacturing these toiletries. Artificial intelligence can start identifying the patterns, from gun violence to illegally selling goods to terrorism. It’s time for social media giants to step up and stop putting profit over public safety.”

The attorney who served as Rubinov’s counsel in a civil case did not respond to a request for comment by the time of publication. His listed attorney could not be reached for comment.

(Photo: iStock Editorial/Tupungato)

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By: Rob Bates

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