A former Florida pastor has been charged with stealing $1.4 million in merchandise from Home Depot and then selling it on eBay, as the state’s top law enforcement official highlights his apparent violation of one of the Ten Commandments declaring “thou shall not steal.”
According to a statement issued Monday by Florida’s Republican Attorney General Ashley Moody’s office, Pinellas County-based pastor Robert Dell was charged with leading a “multimillion-dollar theft ring” after an investigation by the Florida Organized Retail Crime Exchange taskforce and other state law enforcement agencies. According to Moody, “this pastor clearly skipped over the commandment—thou shalt not steal.”
“Our FORCE taskforce shut down his criminal operation, stealing millions of dollars’ worth of merchandise from Home Depot stores across the state to resell the items on eBay,” she added. “We will not tolerate organized retail theft in Florida, and my office will continue to combat these criminal organizations.”
The Florida Attorney General’s Office identified Dell as “a pastor of The Rock Church and the founder of a halfway house serving those recovering from drug addiction in St. Petersburg.” The investigation, a collaboration between the FORCE taskforce, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, and the Office of Agricultural Law Enforcement, revealed that Dell “worked with four accomplices to shoplift Milwaukee, Dewalt, and other branded products from Home Depot stores.”
Stores targeted by Dell and his co-conspirators are located in Citrus, Hillsborough, Manatee, Pasco, Pinellas, Polk, and Sarasota Counties. Two of his accomplices, Daniel Mace and Jessica Wild, “stole the majority of the merchandise and, on average, victimized stores five to six times a day.” As part of the scheme, they would deliver the stolen goods to Dell’s house. The pastor would then sell them on eBay under the store name “Anointed Liquidator.”
“According to the investigation, Dell demanded the crimes under threat of abuse and used the positions of being a pastor and founder of a halfway house to manipulate other vulnerable people to participate in the criminal scheme,” Moody’s office noted. “Home Depot suspects Dell operated this scheme for more than 10 years, resulting in the loss of more than $5 million.”
Jaclyn Dell and Karen Dell have been charged with assisting in the collection, shipment, and payment of stolen goods. Jaclyn faces a conspiracy charge under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, while Karen is charged with dealing in stolen property.
Dell, a former pastor, faces charges of racketeering, conspiracy to commit racketeering, and dealing in stolen property as an organizer. The Florida Office of Statewide Prosecution will represent the state in legal proceedings.