MIAMI (CBSMiami) – South Miami police say they are appealing for the public’s help in catching serial shoplifters who specialize in stealing cases of beer from Miami-Dade stores.
Lead detective Fernando Bosch tells CBS4’s Peter D’Oench that he believes they have struck 3 other stores in Miami-Dade County and one in Miami, as well as the CVS pharmacy at 6460 South Dixie Highway on Easter Sunday night.
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CBS4 has obtained exclusive video and photos from inside the CVS store.
The surveillance video shows one subject taking his time while loading up a cart full of beer and then leaving through a back door and then returning and filling up a cart again as a curious employee tries to talk to him.
The surveillance photos show two subjects leaving with a shopping cart filled with Corona and Heineken beer.
Bosch said, “These individuals have been going around to different stores in Miami-Dade, mainly Publix supermarkets. They load up their shopping carts full of beer and they walk out without paying. Corona and Heinekens appear to be their beer of choice.”
”We are very concerned because in the latest case from April 17th here in South Miami, one subject arms himself with a bottle and threatens to hit one of the managers which makes this an armed robbery and who knows if this can escalate if somebody tries to stop them. We don’t recommend that but this could escalate. Someone could get hurt and so these guys need to be dealt with.”
“We have recovered a car but the owner has not been cooperative so we need the community’s help trying to identify who they are,” said Bosch.
One big question is what are they doing with the beer.
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Bosch said, “They might be reselling the cases of beer to a restaurant or a bar for much less value. These guys appear to be in their late teens or early 20s. One is heavy set. The other two are skinnier. The heavy-set one is the person who threatened the store manager. One of them wears a baseball cap and the other one of the skinnier ones has wavy, long hair.”
Store customers told D’Oench they were startled by the crime at their CVS store.
CVS Store customer Juliet Masters said, “I think this is ridiculous that some people are so broke that they are stealing cases of beer. I don’t know how they get away with it. All I can say is that they have a lot of nerve. But I must say these days people will steal almost anything.”
CVS Store customer Carlos Cuellar said, “They might be using the beer for resale if you know what I mean.”
Another store customer who did not want to provide her name said, “It’s very sad that there are people who do that.”
CBS4 reached out to the CVS corporation and a spokeswoman said CVS was cooperating with police.
Anyone with information that can help should call South Miami Police at (305) 663-6301 or Miami-Dade Crime Stoppers at (305) 471-TIPS (8477).
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There is a reward of up to $1,000 and callers will remain anonymous.