Florida drug recovery pastor accused of running retail theft ring at Home Depot

Pastor allegedly threatened abuse to manipulate vulnerable people into the scheme

Holly Hales
Monday 09 October 2023 19:29 BST
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A Florida preacher has been accused of running an organised crime ring centred on selling stolen Home Depot items online.

Robert Dell, from Pinellas County near Tampa, faces charges including racketeering and dealing in stolen property.

Mr Dell allegedly used his roles as a pastor at The Rock Church and director of a halfway house for recovering drug addicts to force people to steal for him.

The operation resulted in the pastor and four co-conspirators stealing merchandise worth more than $1.4 million from stores in several counties.

“Co-conspirators, Daniel Mace and Jessica Wild, stole the majority of the merchandise and, on average, victimized stores five to six times a day,” according to a statement from Florida’s Attorney General office.

“The co-conspirators then delivered the merchandise to Pastor Dell’s house to be sold under the eBay store name: ‘Anointed Liquidator’.”

Pastor Dell has allegedly sold $3m in stolen items online since 2016.

He demanded the crimes be carried out by threatening abuse and used his positions to manipulate vulnerable people into the scheme, according to the investigation.

Home Depot suspects he operated this scheme for more than 10 years, resulting in the loss of more than $5m.

The store’s vice president of asset protection Scott Glenn told The Wall Street Journal on Saturday that the number of thefts in Tampa had dropped since Mr Dell was charged.

“Somebody else will rise up and probably start doing this in the absence of this group that was busted,” he said.

Dell’s wife Jaclyn and mother Karen have also been named as alleged co-conspirators, assisting in the collection, shipment and payment of the stolen goods.

Jaclyn Dell faces a charge of conspiracy and Karen Dell has been charged with dealing in stolen property.

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