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Home Depot Retail Crime Ring Busted in Florida, Moody’s Office File Charges

Home Depot Retail Crime Ring Busted in Florida, Moody’s Office File Charges

The Office of Statewide Prosecution under Attorney General Ashley Moody has filed charges against yet another retail crime ring, this one with the loss of over $100,000 from Home Depot locations.

Since retail theft has been a top priority for the OSP in Florida, investigations and criminal charges are ongoing. With the help of the OSP, criminal investigations last fall found stolen products worth millions of dollars and led to the prosecution of several murderers.

“Operation On the Fence” was a case that put the spotlight on a massive retail theft ring that was active in South Florida throughout nine judicial circuits. The ringleaders were responsible for over $20 million in losses suffered by over twenty separate stores across the state.

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An OSP operation resulted in the sentencing and restitution order of a ringleader in a retail theft ring that operated in fifteen counties and mostly sold stolen goods on Facebook Marketplace.

A recent investigation by the Office of Agricultural Law Enforcement of the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services led to the filing of charges against three individuals by OSP attorneys. The thieves allegedly swapped out pricey roof sealers for cheaper ones by exchanging their barcodes instead.

The accused committed over 25 thefts from Home Depot locations in 11 counties in southeastern and central Florida over the course of three years, making off with 281 buckets of roof sealant. The group allegedly stole from two or three stores daily, with each transaction involving the swapping of barcodes on four to sixteen containers.

Moody stated that the thieving gang stole over $100,000 by “switching barcodes at self-checkout stations on expensive roof sealers for items that cost 95-97% less.” The heist occurred at many Home Depot shops every day.

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Dismantling organized retail theft rings is part of Florida’s commitment to law and order. Our state’s prosecutors and prison term await this gang; I assure you, there will be no self-checkout lanes behind bars.

One of the accused robbers faces a grand theft over $100,000 charge, while two others face a grand theft over $20,000 charge apiece. On one count, each of the accused faces charges of conspiring to swindle more than $20,000.

Retail theft will be subject to harsher punishments soon, according to efforts by Florida’s governor and legislature.

The proposed changes would raise the penalties for retail theft to a third-degree felony if five or more individuals are involved, to a second-degree felony if the offender uses social media to recruit others to steal from stores, and to a first-degree felony if a firearm is used in the theft or if the offender has two or more previous convictions for retail theft.

For package theft to be considered a felony under current legislation, the value of the stolen goods must be lower than it is now.

“If you commit a crime in Florida, you are going to be held accountable,” he stated earlier this month. “We shall not stand for the retail theft, porch pirates, and anarchy that these states permit.”

Both DeSantis and Moody have pledged to increase the state’s police force, which is in line with the tough on crime agenda. Since the law enforcement recruitment bonus program in Florida started in 2022, almost four thousand police officers have either relocated to the Sunshine State or become new recruits.

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