What to Know
- Five mini markets in Wilmington, Delaware, were shut down after staff allegedly hired people to steal from CVS and Walgreens stores.
- Investigators said the mini markets paid the shoplifters for the stolen items and then resold those items at a higher price.
- Police continue to investigate and said more businesses could be involved.
Five Delaware mini markets were shut down after staff members allegedly paid shoplifters to steal from local CVS and Walgreens stores and then resold the stolen items for a higher price.
Police said they had noticed a trend of shoplifting incidents at various Walgreens and CVS locations in Wilmington over the span of several weeks. Investigators later determined the shoplifters were in communication with several small businesses and markets in the city.
“If you walk into a local store and you see a Walgreens or a CVS tag on that item you’re about ready to purchase, you know it’s probably stolen,” Wilmington Police Lt. Matthew Hall said.
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Staff members at the stores allegedly hired people to steal several items from the Walgreens and CVS stores, including soap, body wash and deodorant. The shoplifters then brought the stolen items back to the businesses in exchange for approximately $1 per item, investigators said. The small businesses then resold the stolen items for a higher price, according to police.
Investigators determined the following Wilmington businesses worked with the shoplifters:
• Shorman Mini Market – 2215 Washington Street
• City Markey and Deli – 2402 N Market Street
• Franklin Market – 128 N Franklin Street
• Lucky Stop – 2212 N Market Street
• High Savings Market – 418 N Scott Street
On Monday, L&I officials and police found stolen merchandise at all five locations, investigators said. L&I also said they found several violations at the stores related to electrical, plumbing and structural issues.
The stolen items were seized and all five businesses were shut down.
Antoine Wilkerson told NBC10 he’s aware that he’s getting ripped off at some mini markets but says it’s still more convenient and safer to shop nearby.
“I call it the Walmart of the hood because it’s got everything you need right there,” Wilkerson said.
Wilkerson also told NBC10 he’s aware of the alleged schemes from some of the stores.
“If you stand out here probably 20 minutes you’ll see someone with a cart,” Wilkerson said. “They may have a whole Walgreens cart out here.”
Police are trying to determine if staff members or store owners gave direct orders to the thieves. They’re also investigating whether the five businesses worked together and if more stores were involved.
If you have any information about the thefts, please call Sgt. Paul Ciber at (302) 576-3922 or email him at Paul.Ciber@CJ.State.de.us.