Now we have ‘gypsies’ ripping-off America (the land of opportunity)!

This is an incredible story from Illinois.  A family of Romani was arrested this week for shoplifting millions of dollars of merchandise from stores over a ten year period and selling the stolen goods on eBay.

More of David Lubell’s Immigrant ‘entrepreneurs?

The $1.3 million home of the Bogdanov family. Photo: Alexandra Chachkevitch, Chicago Tribune

The first story sent to me today by a reader while I was away is this one from AP.  Note that the only way we know they are immigrants is that the wife needed a Romani translator for her court appearance.

However, a second story unearthed by ‘pungentpeppers’ identified them as being from the former Yugoslavia.  The  funny thing is that you have to watch the ABC News clip (to the very end) attached to the written story to find out where they are from and  that they may not even be US citizens.   Amazing how skittish the media is about reporting immigrant wrong-doing.

By the way, we have taken refugees from the former Yugoslavia (thousands of them!) so they could indeed be refugees.

From AP:

CHICAGO (AP) — 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. Working in tandem, 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.

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.


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 notably fuller than when she entered, the complaint says.

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

The Chicago Tribune story (which has the photo) does mention their ethnicity.

Update:  Here is the criminal complaint.

Is Putin making up a refugee ‘crisis’ in Ukraine?

Putin must save the Ukrainian refugees!

Russian news outlets have been reporting that there are hundreds of thousands of Ukrainians who have sought asylum in Russia over the last two months.

They say 140,000 have crossed the border into mother Russia for protection in the last two weeks.

Russian President Putin sure does know how “refugees” on the move can ring the medias’ bells.  He knows the drill!  Just follow the news on Syrian refugees to know what I mean!

But, it seems not to be working this time.

Here is the story from the Huffington Post:

News stories emanating from Russian state media this past week raise a serious question. Is Russia creating a fake refugee crisis in the Ukraine to justify its military intervention in the region?

No one has actually seen the refugees.  Read it all.  I have no time for more this morning.

CDC fears “suicide contagion” in Bhutanese refugee population

Here is yet one more story on the high rate of suicide in the Bhutanese refugee population in the US.  This time from New Hampshire via WBUR (Boston’s NPR station).  Hat tip ‘pungentpeppers.’

This New Hampshire woman’s father hanged himself on Thanksgiving day.  He was 73.

We only noted a link to the New Hampshire suicides in a post in January where we learned some refugees remaining in the camps were upset at the UN for splitting up families.  You might want to revisit that post because it gives some background as to how we have resettled 70,000 Bhutanese since 2007.   The number in the WBUR story is wrong.

The interview (read about the New Hampshire case) mentions the disappointment some refugees have when the US does not meet their expectations and with the Bhutanese it is pointed out that their culture does not have the same taboos about suicide as some other ethnic groups, or most Americans.

So, as the numbers grow, there is some speculation that “suicide contagion” could set in.


The numbers trouble the Centers for Disease Control, which began investigating the deaths a few years ago. By early 2012, it had 16 cases to look at from a three-year period. The CDC calculated a suicide rate higher than the national and global average, and it hasn’t changed since then.

SHARMILA SHETTY: The Bhutanese and I think in general just that part of the world, the perspective on suicide is very different from I think a lot of other populations and ethnicities.

LESSARD (interviewer): Dr. Sharmila Shetty was a lead investigator on the CDC report. She says the Hindu and Buddhist cultures don’t have strict taboos against suicide as, say, Muslim or Western cultures do. But beyond that, Shetty says the causes can be myriad and frustratingly unknowable.


SHETTY: There is this phenomenon called suicide contagion.

LESSARD: Shetty explains that if you know someone who ends his or her life, or you hear about it, you are more likely to do it yourself. That’s why she says it’s best to address the problem proactively. Following the CDC’s initial report, the national Office of Refugee Resettlement put a suicide hotline number on its front webpage.

Sounds good, but I wonder how many refugees call Washington if they are thinking about suicide?  Would you?