Sheriff Grady Judd: The suspects would "just clear out the shelves. They would have these bags just totally full of product and then they would just walk out with it."By Casey Albritton

POLK COUNTY, Fla. (CW44 News At 10) – Detectives with the Polk County Sheriff’s Office, working with other state and local officials have developed 8 suspects statewide during an investigation that started in August of 2019. The suspects are allegedly responsible for the theft and illegal re-sale of high-dollar items such as baby formula, diapers, and energy drinks, resulting in felony charges of grand theft and racketeering, among other crimes.

The total estimated loss to retailers is $84,669, of which $10,520 occurred in Polk County.

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The victims are: Publix, Southeastern Grocers (Winn-Dixie), and Walmart.

The 18 affected Florida counties were identified as Charlotte, Citrus, Desoto, Hernando, Hillsborough, Lake, Lee, Levy, Marion, Orange, Osceola, Pasco, Pinellas, Polk, Sarasota, Seminole, Sumter, and Volusia.

On Wednesday, December 16, 2020, five of the suspects were arrested in Hillsborough County and booked into the HCSO jail. One suspect was arrested in Orlando and booked into the Orange County Department of Corrections facility. On Thursday, December 17th, another suspect turned herself in, in Polk County. The last suspect has a warrant and is still at large.

The thefts and racketeering occurred as follows: Five of the suspects (boosters) would enter the different stores, and place dozens of cans of baby formula into bags. Oftentimes they would put baby diapers on top of the formula to further conceal it. On other occasions they stole energy drinks. They then passed all points of sale and loaded the stolen goods into a rental car. Each organized theft amounted to a range between $350-900 worth of stolen items. The suspects then immediately drove to one of the fencing locations, where they were given cash by the three other suspects (fences) who then resold the stolen items from their stores.

This is an organized group of criminals working together to steal high-dollar items for their own personal profit, by stealing, and then selling the stolen goods on the black market. These suspects are committing felony racketeering and they belong in prison. Our detectives, FDLE, and the Statewide Prosecutors have done a great job with this investigation—working across many jurisdictions in Florida. Our message is simple: if it’s not yours, don’t take it. Don’t steal in Polk County and don’t steal in Florida. If you do, and we catch you, you will go to jail and then prison. Organized retail theft is a big problem in Florida costing retailers and consumers millions of dollars.” – Grady Judd, Sheriff

Here are a few specific examples of thefts committed by the suspects:

August 2019:

Aug 17: Rantevia Singleton and Beatrice Johnson, driving a rented Nissan, went into a Publix in Lutz, Florida, and filled their own reusable shopping bags with 11 cases of 5-hour energy shot drinks. They then asked a sales associate where the WIC-approved baby formula was located. They filled their reusable shopping bags with 24 cans of Enfamil baby formula, and placed a package of Pull-ups diapers on top. They left the store, passing all points of sale, with $551 worth of stolen items.

Aug 18: Adrian Givens and Beatrice Johnson, went into a Publix in New Port Richey, Florida, and loaded a shopping cart with 20 cans of Enfamil baby formula. They went into another aisle and put the formula into reusable shopping bags, then left the store, passing all points of sale. The value of the stolen items was $381.

Aug 18: Adrian Givens and Beatrice Johnson, went into a Publix in Trinity, Florida, and loaded a shopping cart with 19 cans of Enfamil baby formula. They went into another aisle and put the formula into reusable shopping bags, then left the store, passing all points of sale. The value of the stolen items was $371.
The same day, Givens and Johnson went back into the same Publix in Trinity, FL, and began placing baby formula into reusable shopping bags. They were confronted by the store manager, at which time they ran out of the store with the bags, stealing $754 worth of formula.

Aug 20: Givens and Johnson went into a Publix in Tampa, Florida. While Johnson loaded her shopping cart with baby formula, Givens stopped at the Customer Service desk and distracted the clerk while Johnson pushed the cart with the stolen goods outside. They fled with $956 worth of formula.

The following day, August 21st, the pair attempted to steal $792 worth of formula from a Publix in Riverview. When they realized they were being watched, they told the clerk they forgot their WIC card at home, so they left.

Later that day (August 21) Givens and Johnson went into a Winn Dixie in Valrico, and stole a cart full of baby formula valued at $778. Then they went into another Winn Dixie store in Riverview and stole $443 worth of baby formula.

Aug 23: Rantevia Singleton went into a Publix in St. Petersburg and stole $717 worth of baby formula by placing it into reusable shopping bags and leaving the store.

Aug 23: Givens and Johnson stole 35 cans of baby formula from a Winn Dixie in Plant City, worth $636.

Aug 29: Rantevia Singleton stole 64 cans of baby formula and two packages of Huggies diapers, from a Walmart in Brandon. The total loss was $2,985.

The pattern of thefts continued throughout the year and into 2020, often occurring several times in one day or one day after another during the week.

Click here to see video of the suspects in action.

Detectives continued their investigation and surveillance of where the stolen items were taken after the thefts. The fencing locations were identified as:

Ray’s Food Mart, 509 West Columbus Drive, Tampa
Ten Star Deli and Supermarket, 1202 East MLK Jr Blvd, Tampa

The following was observed:

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February 2020:

Feb 5: Ahmed Hamdan, working at Ten Star Supermarket, went outside behind the store and together with Eshaud Suid, removed stolen product from the trunk of a car and put it into Suid’s car. Cash was exchanged with the driver of the first car, and the product was moved into the garage of Suid’s house in Lutz.

Feb 6: Hamdan and Suid removed a loaded garbage bag from a rental car at the Ten Star store.

Feb 12: Suid loaded black garbage bags from his Lutz home into his car, then drove to the Silver Dollar Food Store in Tampa. The bags were loaded into a van being driven by Abas Issa. Issa then went to the Seminole Hard Rock Casino in Tampa for approximately one hour. When he left, he headed eastbound on I-4 and was observed swerving and unable to maintain a single lane. He was pulled over in Davenport by a PCSO deputy sheriff, and a search of his van revealed garbage bags filled with baby formula.

Feb 13: A Chevrolet Camaro occupied by three black females was backed into a spot next to Suid’s car behind Ten Star Supermarket. The women loaded black garbage bags filled with product into Suid’s car, then went inside the store.

The pattern of stolen goods being delivered to the different identified fencing locations continued throughout 2020. The boosters’ cell phone records and rental vehicles matched up with the transactions being conducted at the four different fencing locations. The investigation revealed that the fences paid the boosters $5.00 per stolen can of formula.

The following is an excerpt from the extremely detailed and lengthy Polk County affidavit:

In September of 2019, Rantevia Singleton deprived businesses within Polk County, Florida of merchandise valued at least $6,777.38. Rantevia Singleton was charged with 7 counts of Grand Theft $300-$5000 for the month of September, 2019.

In June of 2020, Rantevia Singleton deprived businesses within Polk County, Florida of at least $1675.77. Rantevia Singleton was charged with 2 counts of Grand Theft $750-$5000 for the month of June, 2020.

In September of 2019, Adrian Givens and Beatrice Johnson deprived businesses within Polk County, Florida of merchandise valued at least $944.27. Adrian Givens and Beatrice Johnson were both charged with 1 count of Grand Theft $300-$5000 for the month of September, 2019.

In September of 2019, Andrea Mack deprived businesses within Polk County, Florida of merchandise valued at least $719.30. Andrea Mack was charged with 1 count of Grand Theft $300-$5000 for the month of September, 2019.

Since the initial findings of theft and racketeering, PCSO detectives have been working with FDLE and the Attorney General’s Office of Statewide Prosecution (Florida) to develop extensive evidence and documentation in 18 different counties. The Attorney General’s Office of Statewide Prosecution is prosecuting the case.

Those arrested (fences) for paying the boosters cash for the stolen goods are:

Eshaud Suid, DOB 04/12/89;
Charges: Conspiracy to commit racketeering (F1)
Racketeering Violation (F1)

Ahmed Hamdan, DOB 10/21/93;
Charges: Conspiracy to commit racketeering (F1)

Abas Issa, DOB 05/09/67;
Charges: Dealing in stolen property (F2)

Those arrested for committing the thefts (boosters) at the stores are:

Rantevia Singleton, DOB 10/09/94;
Charges: Conspiracy to commit racketeering (F1)
Racketeering Violation (F1)
9 counts Grand theft (F3)
Criminal History: 
Grand theft, petit theft, giving false info to LEO, DWLSR
**She told deputies she receives $504.00 per month in EBT benefits.

Adrian Givens, DOB 07/24/95;
Charges: Conspiracy to commit racketeering (F1)
Racketeering Violation (F1)
Grand theft (F3)
Criminal History: 
Grand theft, burglary, petit theft, trafficking in stolen property, retail theft, grand theft of motor vehicle, possession of anti-shoplifting device, giving false name to LEO, resisting arrest, obstruction, DWLSR

Ashley Anderson, DOB 02/13/96;
Charges: Conspiracy to commit racketeering (F1) 
Criminal History: 
Aggravated battery, battery, affray, disrupting a school function, petit theft, criminal mischief, resisting recovery of property
**She told deputies she receives $197.00 per month in food stamps, $130.00 Section 8 benefits, and Medicaid. 

Andrea Mack, DOB 09/08/95;
Charges: Conspiracy to commit racketeering (F1)
Grand theft (F3)
**She told deputies she receives $200.00 per month in food stamps, and Medicaid.

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WANTED: Beatrice Johnson, DOB 07/22/91;
Charges: Conspiracy to commit racketeering (F1)
Racketeering Violation (F1)
Grand theft (F3)
Criminal History: 
Grand theft, petit theft, fraudulent use of personal ID, unlawful possession of another person’s ID, fraudulent use of credit card, giving false info to LEO, obstruction, resisting recovery of property