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BRIDGEPORT, Pa. (KDKA) — A Westmoreland County business owner is facing charges, accused of paying people to steal the items he was selling in his grocery store.
The people who live in and around the little town of Bridgeport know Melvin ‘Beanie’ McCloy’s store, and like the 60-year-old businessman.
But state police have charged McCloy with paying people to steal food at other local stores to maintain his shop’s inventory.
“As far as we’re concerned, he was running a corrupt organization,” said Tpr. Stephen Limani, of Pennsylvania State Police. “It was daily that we had retail thefts that were happening.”
KDKA has brought you many stories of food and drink thefts.
Video from the Walmart in Latrobe shows a man stealing thousands of dollars in meat. Another surveillance image shows a woman with a cart full of groceries that she allegedly rolled right out of a Shop ‘n Save.
There’s also a man who investigators called the “Hamburglar.”
“He was called the ‘Hamburglar’ because the man went and stole a bunch of hams right around Easter time,” said Tpr. Limani.
Investigators say McCloy would pay the alleged thieves a small amount of money for the goods.
“He would give a list of what he needed, whatever he was running low on,” said Tpr. Limani. “Unfortunately, the people he’s feeding money to, the majority are involved in drugs.”
Investigators say McCloys alleged scheme was outstanding for the businesses bottom line.
“It’s ridiculous the amount of money he’s received in stolen property,” said Tpr. Limani.
According to state police, forensic analysis of the books at McCloys in 2016 was a little over $3 million in the business, the next year $1.7 million. All told, in two years, the little shop did about $5 million in sales.
State police say, during that time, 65 percent of the inventory was stolen.
Investigators say they also found money at McCloy’s home.
“At his house, there was over $700,000,” Tpr. Limani said.
All in cash.
Investigators say finding willing participants in the scheme was no problem.
“We’d see people coming back and forth multiple times during the day, bringing items to the store that they had stolen,” said Tpr. Limani.
Despite the charges, McCloy’s shop remains open.
He declined comment on the matter, and remains free on $25,000 unsecured bond.