Ink theft

Authorities have recovered more than $150,000 worth of printer ink and cartridges allegedly stolen from Target and OfficeMax stores in three states, including stores in Palmdale and Lancaster, according to the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.

PALMDALE — A nearly three-month long investigation into thefts from Target and OfficeMax stores across three states has led to an arrest and the seizure of more than $150,000 worth of printer ink and toner, according to a Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department detective.

“The Target in Palmdale and the Target in Lancaster were impacted,” said LASD Detective John Hall, adding that the multi-location search warrant to recover the stolen ink and toner led the authorities to a warehouse in Chatworth.

“They’ve had a buyer on the black market. We were able to identify this person and (execute) a search warrant, recovering $150,000 of stolen ink,” Hall said.

The recovered cartidges and toner, which required the use of a semi-truck to transport from the warehouse, are believed to be from Targets and OfficeMax locations across Southern California, Nevada and Arizona, Hall said.  

Authorities arrested Vlad Sterlin, 45, on an unknown felony charge related to the theft. His bail was set at $50,000, and according to LASD inmate locator, Sterlin was booked on the afternoon of July 2 and made bail later that day. His initial court appearance was Friday morning at the Antelope Valley Municipal Court.

The Antelope Valley Press could not determine by press time which charge or charges Sterlin was facing or any additional information about him.   

In addition to Sterlin, the theft “ring” spans another 20 to 30 other individuals. Hall said the suspects’ information and additional information on them, including whether they were arrested or still at large, will be released soon.

Some of the suspects are either from or have ties to Antelope Valley and Los Angeles, he added.  

In addition to the stores in the Antelope Valley, the thieves have targeted locations in Chatsworth and in Ventura County. Target alone has incurred losses totaling more than $260,000, according to Hall.

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