Liquor theft ring busted in police sting

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SEATTLE —

Seattle police conducting a sting operation have arrested six people and recovered hundreds of bottles of liquor in connection with a ring that police say trafficked stolen liquor.

 

Police found stolen liquor on a man who was arrested for shoplifting in September.  He told police he was selling $20,000 to $40,000 worth of stolen booze a month.

 

He became an informant who sold what he said was stolen liquor to others, including two valets at a downtown hotel and employees of two Pike Place Market businesses.

 

"Over a six-week period, the Major Crimes Task Force sent in undercover detectives to the two Pike Place businesses and the downtown parking lot, where they sold supposedly stolen liquor— actually provided by the loss prevention departments of major grocers like Safeway and QFC—for pennies on the dollar," police said in a blotter entry

 

Police said the owner of Pike Place Flowers offered to sell an undercover officer liquor at the wedding the officer was planning.  The flower shop owner then called the informant to provide a list of liquor he needed stolen.

 

An 18-year-old employee at another Pike Place Market business also stolen bottles of liquor. When detectives made their delivery, the teen was arrested.  He told detectives he was reselling the liquor to Seattle high school students.

 

Friday morning, KIRO 7 Eyewitness News reporter Jeff Dubois reported that there's been a rash of liquor thefts from local stores. The Northwest Grocery Association and the Seattle City Attorney said the bulk of the thefts are being committed by organized retail crime rings.