Office of Public Affairs & Media Relations
5-MONTH PROBE OF ORGANIZED RETAIL THEFT RING NETS 8 ARRESTS
Scheme Resulted in Nearly $1 Million in Retail Theft at Home Depot
Sheriff’s detectives have dismantled a web of retail thieves who have been stealing high-end drills and power tools from Home Depot stores throughout Central Florida and reselling them since 2014 – a loss to Home Depot of nearly $1 million in retail theft.
Today, Volusia County Sheriff Mike Chitwood and sheriff’s detectives announced the culmination of a five-month racketeering investigation into the thefts committed by the “Bay One Bandits,” named for the location of the drills in Home Depot. A search warrant was executed today at a South Daytona pawn shop in which detectives located hundreds of new drills that are being resold via the Internet.
The investigation ultimately led to Richard Hill, owner of Richard Hill’s Music & Pawn Shop, 2550 S. Nova Road, South Daytona. Detectives say Hill was buying stolen merchandise and selling it on eBay and out of his pawnshop. He dealt in stolen property 690 times from April 1, 2017, through April 1, 2018.
“This is a million dollars in stolen property, coming into a little pawn shop in the front door and going out the back door, through the Internet,” Chitwood told reporters today in a news conference in front of Hill’s pawn shop. “I would say today (Hill) is a little bit incredulous that we even come and question his integrity and how all these fell into his lap.”
The investigation resulted in eight warrants for racketeering charges. As of today, all eight defendants have been arrested.
In January 2018, Home Depot sought the assistance of the Volusia County Sheriff’s Office (VCSO) to investigate. Since April 2017, three local stores began reporting that large amounts of Home Depot merchandise was being refunded but not being sold. They include Home Depot stores at 2455 W. International Speedway Blvd., Daytona Beach and 1551 Dunlawton Ave., Port Orange. A Palm Coast Home Depot store, 10 Garden St., N., also reported theft activity connected to one of the Daytona Beach thefts.
VCSO detectives identified two main suspects – Steven M. Proctor and Amelia C. La Pallo -- who recruited other suspects to steal merchandise from Home Depot and fraudulently return it for refunds.
The recruits became part of two “booster teams” -- one team operated at least since August 2017, committing an estimated retail theft of $100,000. The second team, active since September 2014, has stolen $814,000 in property.
The defendants are held on bonds ranging from $65,000 to $150,000.
Administrative offices: West Volusia 386-736-5961 Daytona Beach 386-254-4689 New Smyrna Beach 386-423-3352
Non-emergency dispatch numbers: DeLand 386-943-8276 Daytona Beach 386-239-8276 New Smyrna Beach 386-409-8276 Osteen 407-323-0151