A former Florida pastor has been charged with stealing roughly $1.4 million worth of merchandise from Home Depot stores and reselling the stolen goods on eBay.
As reported by The Christian Post, Pinellas County-based pastor Robert Dell was charged with organizing a “multimillion-dollar theft ring” following an investigation by the Florida Organized Retail Crime Exchange taskforce, FORCE taskforce, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and the Office of Agricultural Law Enforcement.
“This pastor clearly skipped over the commandment—thou shall not steal,” Florida’s Republican Attorney General Ashley Moody said in a statement published on Monday.
“Our FORCE taskforce shut down his criminal operation stealing millions of [dollars’] worth of merchandise from Home Depot stores across the state to resell the items on eBay,” she added. “We will not tolerate organized retail theft in Florida, and my office will continue to combat these criminal organizations.”
The Florida Attorney General’s Office recognized Dell as “a pastor of The Rock Church and the founder of a halfway house serving those recovering from drug addiction in St. Petersburg.” The investigation found that Dell “worked with four accomplices to shoplift Milwaukee, Dewalt and other branded products from Home Depot stores.”
Dell, 56, worked with Daniel Mace, Jessica Wild, his wife, Jaclyn, and his mother, Karen. They targeted stores in Citrus, Hillsborough, Manatee, Pasco, Pinellas, Polk and Sarasota Counties. After stealing the goods, Dell would sell them on eBay under the store name “Anointed Liquidator.”
“According to the investigation, Dell demanded the crimes under threat of abuse and used the positions of being a pastor and founder of a [halfway] house to manipulate other vulnerable people to participate in the criminal scheme,” Moody’s office noted. “Home Depot suspects Dell operated this scheme for more than 10 years, resulting in the loss of more than $5 million.”
Dell, who was arrested on Aug. 1, had his bond set at $750,000 and faces charges of racketeering, conspiracy to commit racketeering and dealing in stolen property as an organizer. He also faces two drug-related charges, including possession of cocaine. Meanwhile, Karen Dell, 72, was released on a $20,000 bond Tuesday, while Jaclyn Dell, 39, remains in jail on a $150,000 bond.
Following Dell’s arrest, the Rock Church published a statement clarifying his employment status there.
“Robert Dell is not the pastor of the Rock Church. He wasn’t the founding pastor, either. He was the pastor when it was named the Rock Community Church and Transformation Center and hasn’t been a pastor for the last 2 ½ years.”
Photo courtesy: ©Getty Images/Justin Sullivan/Staff
Milton Quintanilla is a freelance writer and content creator. He is a contributing writer for Christian Headlines and the host of the For Your Soul Podcast, a podcast devoted to sound doctrine and biblical truth. He holds a Masters of Divinity from Alliance Theological Seminary.