Eight people have been arrested after a statewide investigation into organized retail crime targeting baby formula, diapers, and energy drinks.
Suspects are accused of stealing from Publix, Southeastern Grocers (Winn-Dixie) and Walmart, according to a news release from the Polk County Sheriff’s Office.
The way it works is five suspects entered stores and placed dozens of baby formula into reusable shopping bags. They would conceal the formula with diapers before leaving the store and loading the goods into a rental car. Each theft amounted to $350 to $900 worth of stolen items from the stores. They took the items to three other suspects who paid them for the items and then resold the items from the store.
The total estimated loss to retailers is more than $84,000, according to the release. The crimes were investigated by the Polk County Sheriff’s Office, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and the Attorney General’s Office of Statewide Prosecution.
Thefts occurred in Charlotte, Citrus, Desoto, Hernando, Hillsborough, Lake, Lee, Levy, Marion, Orange, Osceola, Pasco, Pinellas, Polk, Sarasota, Seminole, Sumter, and Volusia.
The fencing locations were identified as Ray’s Food Mart in Tampa and Ten Star Deli and Supermarket, also in Tampa.
Those arrested for reselling the goods include:
Eshaud Suid, 31, and is accused of conspiracy to commit racketeering and Racketeering Violation.
Ahmed Hamdan, 27, is accused of conspiracy to commit racketeering.
Abas Issa, 53, was arrested for allegedly dealing in stolen property.
Those arrested for committing the thefts include:
Rantevia Singleton, 26, faces charges of conspiracy to commit racketeering, Racketeering Violation, and nine counts of grand theft.
Adrian Givens, 25, faces conspiracy to commit racketeering, racketeering Violation and grand theft charges.
Ashley Anderson, 24, faces a charge of conspiracy to commit racketeering.
Andrea Mack, 25, faces a charge of conspiracy to commit and grand theft.
Authorities are still searching for Beatrice Johnson, 29. She is accused of conspiracy to commit racketeering, racketeering violation, and grand theft.
The Southwest Florida stores the suspects stole formula from:
- Winn Dixie: 1254 Jacaranda Blvd, Venice
- Walmart: 1100 South Main Street, North Port
- Walmart: 2150 Tamiami Trail, Port Charlotte
- Winn Dixie: 9864 Stringfellow Road, Bokeelia
- Walmart: 2020 NE Pine Island Rd, Cape Coral
- Walmart: 3920 Skyline Blvd, Cape Coral