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FDLE Says Central Florida Suspects in Retail Theft Ring Stole More than $150,000 from Home Depot and Target Stores

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Home Depot at Alafaya, East Colonial, and Millenia were victims-along with Target at Millenia. Photo: Flickr Creative Commons

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement announced the arrest of three Central Florida suspects in an organized retail theft ring today.

They stole more than $150,000 dollars worth of goods from Home Depot and Target stores across the state. 

The FDLE says the three suspects conducted more than 100 thefts in 23 Florida counties including Orange County using a barcode switch scam.

Special Agent in Charge of FDLE Orlando Lee Massie says the suspects would print out fake barcode stickers for the items and buy them at a reduced price only to resell them later online for the full retail price.

“It’s fitting that we make these arrests just before Black Friday because there’s no question that the magnitude of these thefts and thefts like these cost not only the retailers but also shoppers in increased prices.”

FDLE Special Agent Supervisor Daniel Warren says the suspects stole items like wireless smart dimmer switches, home wi-fi systems, and even breast pumps from Home Depot and Target stores in Orlando.

“To make up for that loss there may be some level of a price increase that has to go in for all that loss. So you, me included in this, we all pay a couple extra dollars in there because of the volume of loss that’s gone along with it.”

Warren says the alleged ringleader Usman Ali of Pembroke Pines has been charged with racketeering, conspiracy to commit racketeering, and grand theft. 

Suspects Rand Clark and Gwendolyn Walker of Orlando face charges of racketeering and conspiracy to commit racketeering. 

FDLE is still searching for suspects Harold Wilson and Keith Conyers.

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Danielle Prieur

About Danielle Prieur

Reporter & Fill-in Host

Danielle Prieur is a general assignment reporter at WMFE. You can hear her reporting on a daily basis on the station. She also fills-in as a host during the morning and afternoon drive times. Her reporting has been featured on NPR. Danielle is originally from Rochester Hills, Michigan and is a graduate of both the ... Read Full Bio »