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8 people arrested in San Diego County for price gouging items online during coronavirus emergency

SAN DIEGO, Calif. ( — Police in San Diego arrested eight people who were jacking up prices on items like toilet paper, hand sanitizer, baby wipes, gloves, face masks, and selling them online to line their pockets with profits during the coronavirus pandemic, officials said.

In response to the State of Emergency being declared in California, deputies from the Fallbrook Sheriff’s Substation conducted an enforcement operation targeting persons involved in online price-gouging activity.

Deputies monitored multiple online websites and applications involved in peer-to-peer merchandise sales and identified a large number of persons selling hygiene products, cleaning supplies/solutions, and personal protective equipment at exorbitant prices.

These parties intended to maximize financial gain during the emergency with merchandise being offered for sale upward of twenty times its regular retail price.

Operating in a plain-clothes capacity, deputies arranged to meet and purchase the excessively priced goods.

After the transaction was completed, deputies placed the seller under arrest for being in violation of section 396(a) of the California Penal Code. California Law prohibits excessive and unjustified increases in prices for essential consumer goods and services during a declared emergency. A violation of this section is a misdemeanor punishable by imprisonment in a county jail for a period not exceeding one year, or by a fine of not more than ten thousand dollars ($10,000), or by both that fine and imprisonment.

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Eight people were arrested during the operation. They were cited and released.

  • Dale Gottschalk (10/27/1966) – unincorporated El Cajon
  • David Gold (04/21/1966) – Escondido
  • David Noriani (06/21/1984) – San Diego
  • Tony Dai Ta (05/08/1966) – Poway
  • Chasity Lynn Long-Ross (12/12/1974) – San Marcos
  • Richard McCake Simpson (02/11/1973) – Vista
  • Spencer Ryan Silva (08/11/1993) – Escondido
  • Eric Marc Duran (06/20/1961) – Rainbow
(photo courtesy San Diego Police Department)
(photo courtesy San Diego Police Department)

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