MERCHANT CHARGED IN SHOPLIFTING SCHEME

SAVANNAH, GA (April 4, 2013): An undercover operation by Metro Police and loss prevention officers of Kroger supermarkets has led to the arrest of a business owner in an operation in which he purchased stolen items to re-sell in his store.

Jay Suryekant Patel, 33, of Savannah , co-owner of Hari’s Food Mart on the 2200 block of Habersham Street, was charged Wednesday with theft by receiving stolen property and fencing of retail property after the joint operation that began Feb. 11.

The investigation by Savannah-Chatham Metropolitan Police Downtown Precinct detectives revealed that he would advise shoplifters which items he wished to purchase and then buy them from the shoplifters at greatly reduced prices. The investigation also indicated that other businesses could be involved in similar schemes.

Kroger tracked the items being stolen and worked with detectives to secure the arrests.
Items purchased by the store included specific brands of bar soap, fabric softener, detergent, razors, headache powders, batteries and body wash, among others.

The investigation continues into the process and the potential that other shoplifters and businesses may be involved.

Anyone with information is asked to call Crimestoppers at (912) 234-2020 or text CRIMES (274637). Tipsters remain anonymous and may qualify for a cash reward.

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