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Family charged in $7m shoplifting spree

CHICAGO — A father, mother, and daughter from a posh Chicago suburb stole $7 million in merchandise during a decadelong shoplifting spree — traveling to stores nationwide and targeting dolls, toys, cosmetics, and other valuables — according to a federal complaint released Wednesday.

The three were arrested earlier this week at their $1.3 million Northbrook home after returning from a three-day trip through Oklahoma, Texas, and Louisiana, where authorities say they shoplifted from stores. The family traveled from their Chicago-area residence to hit businesses in multiple states, including Maryland, Tennessee, and Florida, according to the 20-page complaint.

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Branko Bogdanov, 58, Lela Bogdanov, 52, and their 34-year-old daughter, Julia Bogdanov, are charged with one count each of interstate transportation of stolen property. They made initial appearances Wednesday in US District Court in Chicago, but did not enter pleas; they’ll be held at least until a detention hearing next week. Someone who answered a phone at their Northbrook residence declined to comment

Lela Bogdanov frequently donned a long black skirt with large compartments sewn on the inside during the alleged shoplifting binges and was caught on surveillance cameras leaving some stores with her skirt looking fuller than when she entered, the complaint says.

Standing in orange jail clothes Wednesday in federal court, Lela Bogdanov wiped away tears as US Magistrate Judge Michael Mason explained her rights. She followed the proceedings through a Romani interpreter.

An unnamed cooperating witness bought many of the stolen items at the Bogdanov home, then sold them online through eBay, the complaint says. On their own, Bogdanovs directly sold more than $690,000 in merchandise through eBay, the complaint says.

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