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Organized Thieves With Taste for Champagne Target 3 Publix Stores in Palm Coast

| September 27, 2016

publix suspects

The three suspects are described as a white male, Hispanic female and a Hispanic male. See other images below.

Three times in a single day last week, thieves working in concert struck at three different Palm Coast Publix stores to steal wines and champagnes. They’ve been getting away with plenty of both, in one case stealing nearly $3,000 worth of bottles.

They either have excellent taste or know what may sell on the black market: a third of their haul from one store was made up of 18 bottles of Veuve Cliquot, one of the finest and oldest–and most expensive–French champagnes on the market, along with various kinds of Moet, also an authentic French champagne.

The thieves first struck at the Town Center Publix at 800 Belle Terre Parkway at about 4:30 p.m. A store employee told sheriff’s deputies that three individuals had entered the store and stolen $600 worth of champagnes and wines. The list of items stolen was not included in the incident report, as it was in a subsequent report, but the time-line on the report lists the thefts as occurring from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m., based on surveillance video.

The thieves then made their way to the Island Walk (formerly Palm Harbor) Publix, where they started taking items off the shelves at around 5:45 p.m. They struck a third time at the Publix on Palm Coast Parkway and Belle Terre at 6:30 p.m. that same evening, but did not get away with much there.

publix thefts

The second suspect.

Publix did not report the thefts to the sheriff’s office until four days later, when the pattern became obvious and surveillance video appeared to show the same suspects committing each crime.

An employee at the Island Walk store told 53-year-old store manager Shelton Walker of empty shelves in the wine department when Walker arrived at the store last Friday. Shelton reviewed surveillance tape and discovered that the previous day at 5:47 p.m., three people were removing bottles from the shelves and hiding them in six of the store’s own reusable bags–which the thieves had also stolen: the bags cost $1 each–or under their clothes and walking out. They did so several times.

They managed to get away with 47 bottles in all–Veuve Cliquot, Moet Imperial, Moet Imperial Brut, Moet Brut Rose, Moet Nectar Imperial, and so on. They got hungry along the way: they also stole an eight-piece fried-chicken meal. The total value of the merchandise added up to the pre-tax cost of $2,848.

The theft at the Belle Terre and Palm Coast Parkway store was not as successful as at the other two stores. There, a store official told cops he “confronted a Hispanic male (approximately 6’01” with dark hair) as he was exiting the store in possession of a bag containing bottles of wine not purchased,” according to dispatch notes from the sheriff’s office. The store official said the man “fled the scene, at which time the a [Hispanic] female (wearing dark blue ‘scrubs’) attempted to leave as well.” The store official said he attempted to prevent the woman from leaving the store by standing in her path, but she pushed past him. An undetermined amount of merchandise was recovered in that case.

The three cases had not yet been assigned to detectives as of Tuesday afternoon, a sheriff’s spokesperson said. Images and video from footage Publix turned over to the sheriff’s office were requested for publication, but were not yet available, the spokesperson said.

If you have any information about these subjects or the Publix thefts please call Detective Joe Costello at 386-586-4897 or email:

publix champagne thefts

The third suspect.

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16 Responses for “Organized Thieves With Taste for Champagne Target 3 Publix Stores in Palm Coast”

  1. Veteran says:

    Guess I have to carry my gun in Publix.

  2. downinthelab says:

    That’s why I carry in the produce department.

  3. daveT says:

    so at all of these stores, no employee noticed a person removing the large amount of bottles and then pushing a cart out the front door bypassing the registers. That’s really odd.

  4. daveT says:

    Well I guess at two stores an employee did notice something rather odd going on.

  5. Andy says:

    Did I get my comment in before the first mention of “Palm Compton”? I’m sure that crowd will show up with thinly veiled rascist complaints any minute now. Anyhow, although Veuve Cliquot is a little dry for my taste, this is a sad story. Glad no employees were endangered, hope they catch the thieves!

  6. Al co Hallick says:

    I hope the get the hiccups!

  7. Oh WOW says:

    What a shame. For real.

  8. r&r says:

    If the robberies were seen, why wasn’t alarms set off? It took 4 days to report them? There’s something fishy with this whole situation.

  9. Brian says:

    I have heard that fine wine is an excellent accompaniment to tacos and burritos.

  10. footballen says:

    I guess they were really craving a little fried chicken and champagne eh?

  11. Retiredlawenforcement says:

    ‘The three cases had not yet been assigned to detectives as of Tuesday afternoon, a sheriff’s spokesperson said. Images and video from footage Publix turned over to the sheriff’s office were requested for publication, but were not yet available, the spokesperson said.”

    That means the FCSO was going to bury it until interest was generated.

  12. Carlos iovannitti says:

    Those Spanish were Iligal Mexicans criminals so on building a wall between the U.S. and Mexico: “China built a wall 2000 years ago. In Beijing, they don’t have any Mexicans, so it’s working.”

  13. Geezer says:

    Any cheap champagne or boxed white wine would be a suitable complement
    for Publix’ petrified fried chicken. Wow, 8 pieces of aged fried chicken….

    Vintage fowl!

  14. Godscountry says:

    I visit the area all the time and never see any cops,what happened ? how about putting some cops on bikes,walking.I don’t even see any patrol cars,

  15. Anonymous says:

    I guess the police should be looking for a large wedding party?

  16. palmcoaster says:

    Anyone with light or no so light/bronze completion and brown or black eyes is not only a Hispanic but could also be a Middle Eastern, Europeasn from the Mediterranean coast (Spain, France, Italy, Greece) area and even some Asians have the same look. Also keep in mind that in Puerto Rico also are Hispanics and not illegal at all here, as they are born American Citizens in American territory taken from Spain in the 1898.
    So please do not apply the same crime label to different origins just because comes in easy and very convenient “thanks to current Trumpmania”.

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