Sheriff Grady Judd will brief the media at 10:30 a.m. this morning, Friday, December 18, 2020, at the PCSO Sheriff’s Operations Center (1891 Jim Keene Blvd in Winter Haven) about 8 suspects statewide who have been identified and charged during an investigation that started in August of 2019, responsible for the theft and illegal re-sale of high-dollar items such as baby formula, diapers, and energy drinks, resulting in felony charges of grand theft and racketeering, among other crimes.
Detectives worked with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and the Attorney General’s Office of Statewide Prosecution, Ashley Moody, Attorney General.
The total estimated loss to retailers is $84,669, of which $10,520 occurred in Polk County. The victims are Publix, Winn Dixie, and Walmart – in 18 different counties, and 10 different judicial circuits.
“This is the second group of retail thieves brought to justice by Sheriff Judd’s Deputies and my Statewide Prosecutors this month. Criminals be warned: We will not allow rampant retail theft to harm Florida businesses and force consumers to pay inflated prices to cover the costs of your indolent, unscrupulous crime sprees. These businesses have to build into their budgets projected losses to organized crime rings and shoplifters. Inevitably, those losses get passed on to consumers in the form of higher prices at the cash register. When crime rings, like this one, steal from retailers, they are essentially stealing from all Floridians.” – Ashley Moody, Attorney General
On Wednesday, December 16, 2020, five of the suspects were arrested in Hillsborough County and booked into the HCSO jail. One suspect was arrested in Orlando and booked into the Orange County Department of Corrections facility. On Thursday, December 17th, one suspect turned herself in, in Polk County, and is in the Polk County Jail. The last suspect is still at large and she has a Polk County warrant for her arrest.