A pastor and his family face federal charges for allegedly operating a multimillion-dollar organized crime ring — which the federal government says was run in part out of his then-parish.
Former pastor of The Rock Church & Recovery Program in St. Petersburg, Florida, Robert Dell, 56, is accused of working with his accomplices to systematically shoplift some $1.4 million in merchandise from Home Deport to the central part of the state – before selling the stolen items on eBay.
Dell, whose live sermons on morality can still be seen on church social media, worked with his 39-year-old wife, Jaclyn Dell, and 72-year-old mother, Karen Hurley Dell, to tap into the network retail, the Fed said. , announcing the arrest of the trio on Monday.
They and two others, Daniel Mace and Jessica Wild, are charged as co-conspirators in Dell’s alleged crimes, which officials say took place over more than 10 years.
In a statement announcing their attestations, Florida’s attorney general decried Dell for using his duties as a pastor and owner of a church halfway house “to manipulate other vulnerable people into participating in the scheme. criminal”.
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Robert Dell, pictured after his arrest on Monday, and members of his family face federal charges for allegedly operating a multi-million dollar organized ring – which the feds say was run in part out of his church and stole some $1.4 million in merchandise from Home Depot
A former pastor of The Rock Church in St. Petersburg, Dell is accused of working with his accomplices to systematically steal products from central Florida stores and then selling the stolen items on eBay. He is seen giving a sermon at the parish of Saint Petersburg in 2019
“This pastor clearly ignored the command — thou shalt not steal,” Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody said in Monday’s press release.
“Our FORCE task force shut down their criminal operation by stealing millions of dollars worth of merchandise from Home Depot stores across the state to resell the items on eBay.
“We will not tolerate organized retail theft in Florida and my office will continue to fight these criminal organizations.”
The statement adds that the two people unrelated to Dell stole most of the merchandise – Milwaukee, DeWalt and other brand name products – from five to six stores a day, before delivering the tools to Dell to resell online.
The couple’s relationship to the ex-pastor was not clarified, but authorities specifically said Dell used his role at the halfway house and as a pastor to manipulate people into participating in the program. .
Officials said the targeted Home Depot stores were located within several hundred miles in Citrus, Hillsborough, Manatee, Pasco, Pinellas, Polk and Sarasota counties.
A six-month investigation by Moody’s office documented at least $1.4 million in losses at those stores, while Home Depot brass put the number at more than $5 million, citing the length and flight frequency.
His wife, Jaclyn, and mother, Karen, were also involved in the scheme, federal authorities said – collecting and shipping the stolen goods to an eBay account called “Anointed Liquidator”.
The pair also helped pay for goods, which were mostly power tools and other expensive appliances, federal authorities wrote.
For this, Jaclyn – whose social media accounts are full of religiously inspired words – was charged with conspiracy under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, while Karen was charged with trafficking in property. stolen.
Dell worked with his 39-year-old wife, Jaclyn Dell, and 72-year-old mother, Karen Hurley Dell, to operate the retail network, the Fed said when announcing the trio’s arrest on Monday.
The Fed said Dell used his duties as both pastor and church halfway house owner “to manipulate other vulnerable people into participating in the criminal scheme.” The parish of Saint Petersburg, which has since distanced itself from its former clergyman, sees itself this year
On Monday, federal authorities also arrested Daniel Mace and Jessica Wild, who they say stole most of the goods, including high-priced power tools, before bringing them back to the Dells for sale. Their relationship to Dell was not specified, but authorities specifically said Dell used his role at the halfway house and as a pastor to manipulate people into participating in the program.
Both are being held on $250,000 bail, while Dell has been set at $750,000. He faces charges of conspiracy to commit racketeering, trafficking in stolen property (organized) and racketeering.
He was also charged with drug possession, according to Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office records, though it’s unclear what substance warranted the charge.
Following the series of arrests, authorities specifically said Dell used his role at the halfway house and as a pastor to manipulate people into participating in the scheme.
The bust – which prompted statements from the Home Depot’s Asset Protection Department and the Florida Agriculture Commissioner – comes as organized retail crime has become an increasingly common problem for retailers like Home Depot,
Scott Glenn, vice president of asset protection for The Home Depot, said in a statement that “Home Depot is fighting (this phenomenon) on all fronts.”
“We are proud to partner with the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services to work together to keep dangerous criminals from stealing from our stores,” he added of the store’s large-scale cooperation. surface to discover the theft with the state.
The pair reportedly hit about five to six stores a day, before delivering the tools to Dell (seen here) to resell online, federal authorities said.
Dell’s wife – and mother (not pictured) – are being held on $250,000 bail, while his was set at $750,000. He faces charges of conspiracy to commit racketeering, trafficking in stolen property and racketeering, while the couple have been charged with conspiracy and theft.
FDACS Commissioner Wilton Simpson expressed pride in investigators who included Moody’s Florida Organized Retail Crime Exchange (FORCE) task force for solving the case.
“This operation sends a clear message that Florida is relentless in our pursuit of justice and will not tolerate this criminal activity,” he said.
Dell’s not-so-subtly-named eBay account that sold the sprawling catalog of stolen goods, meanwhile, has been deactivated, and the church where he served for years as pastor has since sought to distance itself from their former clergyman who had worked there for more than a decade.
In a statement pasted on their website’s homepage, as well as another on social media, the church/recovery program said, “Just to clear the record.” Robert Dell is NOT the pastor of the rock church.
“He was also not the founding pastor,” the group added.
“He was the pastor when he was appointed Rock Community Church and Transformation Center, and hasn’t been a pastor for 2½ years.”
The Rock Church did not immediately respond to request for comment.