Make us your home page

Tampa Bay area a hot spot for organized retail theft

Central Florida — Tampa and Orlando — and South Florida each made the first national top 10 list of hubs of organized retail crime.

Florida's two biggest population centers ranked up there with Chicago, Dallas, Houston, Los Angeles, New York, Philadelphia, the San Francisco Bay area and Washington/Baltimore, according to a National Retail Federation survey of top retail loss prevention executives.

There was no breakdown. Markets were listed in alphabetical order.

As opposed to shoplifting, organized retail crime is committed by rings of thieves who steal goods to resell them for cash.

Some big recent cases in Central Florida: Hackers in 2008 stole 1.6 million credit card numbers from Sweetbay and used blank gift cards to turn them into cash; one group was arrested using card numbers on bogus gift cards they used to pay for thousands of gallons of diesel from a Murphy Oil in Gibsonton, then resell the fuel; the same year, a Tampa and Orlando theft ring was accused of stealing more than $100 million in products over several years from supermarkets and drugstores, then selling the goods in online auctions and at local flea markets.

This week a four-person ring in Daytona Beach was charged with cleaning out merchandise — including $25,000 in cigarettes — at several Publix and CVS stores, which was then resold to convenience stores.

Six of 10 store loss-prevention executives surveyed said their chain has experienced an increase in organized retail crime in the past year.

More than 90 percent said their chains had been hit by organized theft rings, down from 92 percent in 2009.

The NRF recently reached an accord with eBay, the online auction site, to start identifying stolen goods that appear for sale on the auction website.

Mark Albright can be reached at or (727) 893-8252.

Tampa Bay area a hot spot for organized retail theft 06/10/10 [Last modified: Thursday, June 10, 2010 9:39pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Richard Corcoran takes aim at public financing of campaigns

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — House Speaker Richard Corcoran, R-Land O'Lakes, may not be running for governor — not yet anyway — but his latest idea will get the attention of those who are.

    House Speaker Richard Corcoran, R- Land O' Lakes, is proposing an end to public financing of campaigns. [SCOTT KEELER | Tampa Bay Times]
  2. Related Group breaks ground on complex at old Tampa Tribune site

    Real Estate

    TAMPA — When Miami developer Jorge Perez first eyed a 4.2-acre tract on the west bank of the Hillsborough River two years ago, people asked him if he wouldn't prefer to build on the opposite side closer to the downtown core.

    No way.

    From left, Related Group executive associate Arturo Penaa, Jorge Perez, center, founder and CEO of the Related Group, Mayor Bob Buckhorn and Steve Patterson, the President of Related Development dig their shovels  during the groundbreaking ceremony of the 400 unit Riverwalk Manor apartment complex on site of the old Tampa Tribune building on Wednesday. [OCTAVIO JONES | Times]
  3. Eat 3-course meals for $35 at these 100 restaurants for Orlando's Magical Dining Month

    Food & Dining

    In the early 1900s, hotels offered "table d'hote" or "prix fixe" menus as a form of loss leader. Hotels didn't necessarily make money on these lower-priced, multi-course meals, often served at communal tables, but they made up for it on the booze. Prohibition may have contributed to a gradual shift toward a la carte …

    Bulla Gastrobar serves a variety of Spanish and Portuguese dishes.
  4. Plant City farmer hopes robot pickers can save strawberry industry from shrinking labor force


    PLANT CITY — If current trends continue, the region's status as a major strawberry producer will depend in large part on what happens in Mexico.

    Strawberry pickers work during the daytime, when fruit is more likely to bruise. Machine pickers can work at night. The owner of Wish Farms in Plant City is developing automated pickers and hopes to see them at work on a widespread basis in five years. [Times file]
  5. Lightning GM Steve Yzerman sells house for $3 million to new player

    Real Estate

    TAMPA — Tampa Bay Lightning General Manager Steve Yzerman's multi-million Davis Islands home is staying in the Lightning family. Yzerman sold his 6,265-square-foot house Monday to new defenseman Dan Girardi for $3 million.

    The Davis Islands home of Tampa Bay Lightning General Manager Steve Yzerman sold for $3 million Monday to Lightning defenseman Dan Girardi. | [Courtesy of Hi Res Media]