Michael and Margaret Pollara (Broward Sheriff's Office)
TAMARAC, Fla. -- A mother and son duo from Tamarac were arrested
after stealing more than $2 million in merchandise, with the son
responsible for thefts at 31 Toys"R"Us stores in Florida, the Broward
Sheriff's Office said Friday.
Michael Ignatius Pollara, 46, used a "box stuffing" method in which
he would take a retail item, empty its box and put a more expensive item
or items inside. He would then proceed to the cash register and be
charged for the less expensive item, authorities said in court
Pollara's routine was to take a big boxed item such as the "Chuck Dix
Stunt Set" or the "Big Adventure Raceway," hide those products
somewhere inside the store and refill the box with high ticket, highly
desirable goods such as LEGO merchandise, Leap Pads and software, BSO
Detective William Upegui Jr. said in an arrest affidavit.
Since Toys"R"Us began investigating on May 9, Pollara has been in 139
of the chain's stores across 27 states, from Arizona to Maine, and has
spent $6,738 at them, according to the affidavit.
He is responsible for multiple thefts at four stores in Broward County, the affidavit says.
The task force that stopped Pollara and his mother, 70-year-old
Margaret Pollara, said at a Friday press conference that the son has
been stealing for over 10 years from various retailers, including Kmart,
Sears, Walmart, Target and Macy's. They estimated that he made a
million dollars over the last several years.
He told detectives that he made so much money from just CVS stores
alone that he took in enough cash to fund a nice vacation to Hawaii,
"It was one of his goals to visit all 50 states and commit thefts in
all 50 states, which he was very proud of -- he did succeed," BSO Sgt.
Rich Rossman said.
Michael Pollara faces 13 counts for grand theft, felony petit theft,
dealing in stolen property, criminal conspiracy and organized scheme to
defraud, according to court records. He was being held in the Broward
County Main Jail on $318,500 bond Friday, according to online BSO
Margaret Pollara faces six counts for grand theft, petit theft,
criminal conspiracy and organized scheme to defraud, court records say.
She was being held at the Paul Rein Detention Facility on $29,100 bond
Friday, according to the BSO.