by Kara Platoni
The US Department of Justice announced today that it has indicted six East Bay residents for operating a Web site that sold goods stolen from chain retailers like Safeway, Target, Walgreens, and Wal-Mart at a discount. Their Web site, WholesaleRAMP, is still up, and you can use it to browse a selection of purloined goods, available in lots for either fixed or negotiable prices. If you'd wanted to buy at least fifty "strapless silicone bra bust enhancers," for example, or a ton of Huggies baby lotion, this would have been the place. In searching the two Oakland convenience stores and a Hayward warehouse where the loot was stashed, the feds uncovered more than twenty tractor-trailers full of swiped merchandise, as well as "cases of vitamins, cold medicine, other over-the-counter pharmaceuticals, baby formula, and hygiene products. .... Searches of the dumpsters outside the warehouse during the investigation turned up thousands of discarded security tags and bar code labels from major retailers." Jeez. Now we know why it's impossible to buy a bottle of aspirin in an Oakland drugstore without having to get someone to unlock a case for you.