The Black Collar Crime Series relies on public news stories and publicly available information for its content. If any incorrect information is found, please contact Bruce Gerencser. Nothing in this post should be construed as an accusation of guilt. Those accused of crimes are innocent until proven guilty.
Robert Dell, the former pastor of The Rock Church in St. Petersburg, Florida, stands accused with his wife and others of stealing over $1.4 million worth of home improvement merchandise from Home Depot stores across Florida and reselling the goods on eBay.
Pinellas County pastor, his wife, and others are accused of stealing over $1.4 million worth of home improvement merchandise from Home Depot stores across Florida and reselling the goods on eBay, state officials said.
Robert Dell, 56, also “forced vulnerable people” to take part in the scheme, Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody announced this week.
A news release from Moody’s office said Dell is a pastor at The Rock Church in St. Petersburg and the founder of a halfway house serving people recovering from drug addiction. But a note on the homepage of The Rock Church’s website says Dell hasn’t been pastor there for more than two years.
The news release names four other people as co-conspirators in the case: Jaclyn Dell, 39, who is Robert Dell’s wife; Karen Dell, 72, who is Robert Dell’s mother; Jessica Wild, 40; and Daniel Mace, 36.
Robert Dell, Jaclyn Dell, and Karen Dell were arrested on Aug. 1 after officers with the Office of Agricultural Law Enforcement executed a search warrant at Robert Dell’s home on the 2600 block of 39th Avenue North in St. Petersburg. He is charged with racketeering, conspiracy to commit racketeering, and dealing in stolen property as an organizer.
Jaclyn Dell was arrested on a charge of conspiracy to commit racketeering and Karen Dell on a charge of dealing in stolen property.
Mace, of Tampa, was arrested Wednesday on charges of racketeering and conspiracy to commit racketeering.
Wild’s booking and charge information was not available.
According to Moody’s office, the group shoplifted Milwaukee, DeWalt, and other branded products from Home Depot stores in Citrus, Hillsborough, Manatee, Pasco, Pinellas, Polk, and Sarasota counties.
Mace and Wild stole a majority of the merchandise and, “on average, victimized stores five to six times a day,” the release said. The pair then delivered the products to Robert Dell, who sold them on an eBay storefront named “Anointed Liquidator,” the release said.
“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,” the release stated.
The release did not give the name of the halfway house.
Home Depot suspects Robert Dell operated this scheme for more than 10 years, and that the company has lost more than $5 million, the release said.
Pinellas court records show a judge sealed search warrants and other documents related to the case at the request of prosecutors who argued that making information public could compromise an ongoing investigation.
In 2019, police arrested Wild and Mace on a grand theft charge for attempting to take nearly $4,500 worth of hardware batteries from a Clearwater Home Depot, according to an arrest affidavit in that case. The pair placed the batteries inside a bin, closed the lid, and attempted to exit the store when one of them “became scared/spooked” after spotting a loss prevention officer. The two left the merchandise by the door and exited the store, the affidavit said.
The affidavit states loss prevention officers knew Wild and Mace because they were seen at a Port Charlotte Home Depot earlier, taking batteries from the location. The pair told police they thought someone was following them and so they left the merchandise in the store.
Prosecutors dropped the case less than a month later, court records show.
An eBay account with the name “annointedliquidator” that has sold tools matching the brands named in the release was created in August 2011. The account has sold more than 35,000 items, according to the website.
Dell operated this theft ring for ten years, including the time period when he was pastor of The Rock Church. To the church I say, “Nice try, but no cigar.”
Bruce Gerencser, 66, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 45 years. He and his wife have six grown children and thirteen grandchildren. Bruce pastored Evangelical churches for twenty-five years in Ohio, Texas, and Michigan. Bruce left the ministry in 2005, and in 2008 he left Christianity. Bruce is now a humanist and an atheist.
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