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COLLEGEVILLE, Pa. - Grocery stores in the Philadelphia area have become the target of thieves who are stealing health-care products to pay for illegal drugs, a Philadelphia television news station reports.
Video footage at Redner's Warehouse Markets in Collegeville, Pa., showed thieves, dressed as shoppers, loading baby formula, pain relievers and other items into shopping carts, and covering the items with rolls of paper towels.
"They just blend with the crowd," said Dave Clark, Redner's security chief, according to the report by NBC 10 News. The thieves in the video then boldly walk through the exit doors of the supermarket with more than $1,000 worth of goods. "This is anywhere USA," said Clark. "They'll travel from Schuylkill County to Philadelphia in one day just to get what they need."
A similar ring that was working out of the Kensington section of Philadelphia was busted Wednesday. Among the items state police seized in the Kensington raid were pain relievers, toiletries, and home pregnancy tests from retail and grocery stores.
Investigators said they believed the thieves had connections to the Dominican Republic, and that they stole millions of dollars of store merchandise, repackaged it, and then resold it for money to buy drugs.
They said that the items would be collected over a relatively short period of time and resold to other distributors and new merchandise brought in to replace that. Police said that the stolen merchandise ring was based in Philadelphia's Kensington section. They said 22 of the 48 ring members are now under arrest.