in LPRC Reports

Theft Demand Centers Exploring Flea Markets Hayes Blackwood 2003

Theft Demand Centers: Exploring Flea Markets
Read Hayes and Robert Blackwood
Theft demand centers (TDCs) help create a demand for stolen or other illicit goods, while enabling thieves and fraudsters. TDCs include pawnshops, flea markets, boot sales, the Internet, local shops and other fences. Retailers, law enforcement investigators and criminologists have identified flea markets as a prime TDC. This exploratory study involved a series of probes of almost 100 active flea markets across North America to observe and record some flea market dynamics. Research questions included the prevalence, condition, retail and wholesale pricing, and possible sources, of a personal grooming product known to be a high-loss item. The product was spotted in 33% of the visited markets, and was typically priced about 35% below average retail store pricing (a level reported to be below the wholesale price retailers pay for the product suggesting illicit sources). Many flea market booth operators had no problem buying likely stolen goods, and were not concerned about purchasing items that had retailer specific stickers affixed, or had apparently been tampered with.
Keywords: hot products, fence, theft demand centers, black market, flea markets