Sgt. Justin Stewart
BEACON PHOTO/AL EVERSON SEEKING SUSPECTS WHO STEAL ONLY THE BEST — Volusia County Sheriff’s Sgt. Justin Stewart says liquor stores, including some in Deltona, have been targets of a ring of thieves specializing in high-priced beverages. The ring, Stewart said, has stolen liquor from stores between Daytona Beach and Polk County.

The Volusia County Sheriff’s Office is investigating a series of liquor thefts over a wide area.

“There is a statewide trend of people going into liquor stores and grabbing high-end bottles of liquor and walking out,” Sheriff’s Sgt. Justin Stewart told The Beacon. “It’s an organized-crime ring.”

He added, “No one has been arrested — yet.”

The rash of retail thefts, which included losses at liquor stores in Deltona, began this spring.

This theft ring, Stewart noted, has been active along the Interstate 4 corridor between Daytona Beach and Polk County, and “everything in between.”

“Between April and May, we had an uptick in liquor thefts,” Stewart said.

He said when prices rise, generally, “people start stealing alcohol.”

The suspects, who appear to number at least five or six, “were last known to be operating out of Apopka.

“They‘ll drive around an area, and they will send two people in, and they will send in two more,” Stewart said, describing a typical theft by the group. “They’ll get two $50 bottles of liquor.”

After leaving the store, the suspects move to another area and repeat the routine, he continued.

Stewart said he does not know where the liquor goes, but it may be resold, “maybe across state lines.”

“They want quick cash,” he said.

The investigation continues.


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