Deputies bust shoplifting ring which targeted department and drug stores

Group stole more than $200,000 in merchandise

NEW PORT RICHEY, Fla. - Detectives in Pasco County have put a shoplighting ring, which hit department and drug stores throughout the Tampa Bay area, out of business.

It's believed the group stole more than $200,000 worth of merchandise over a six-month period.

Patrick Nierwinski, Damian Watson, and Dawn Coley were arrested and charged with dealing in stolen property and theft. Shaun Loree, who is in the Hillsborough County jail, will soon face charges in the case as well.

Investigators say the thieves would work in small groups and would steal items like Crest white strips, Rogaine, and diet pills that could easily be resold on internet sites like eBay and Craigslist.

Security video shows Loree stealing items from the Target store in Trinity, and then being picked up in a Jeep by Watson, authorities said. Loree took more than $1,000 in items, mostly Crest whitening strips, according to detectives.

Nierwinski also tried to buy items, believed to be stolen, from an undercover detective, the Pasco County Sheriff's Office reported. Authorities credit local stores with supplying decoy products and helping with surveillance.

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