Woman steals hundreds of dollars in groceries at Publix stores

Police: Woman caught on camera stealing groceries


DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Daytona Beach Police say Mae Bell, 37, stole hundreds of dollars in groceries at different Publix stores throughout Volusia County.

Police say it has happened at least four times at Publix stores in Daytona Beach, Daytona Beach Shores and Ormond Beach.

Surveillance cameras show Bell in action. She looks like any other customer but police say she's the thief they've been looking for. In the last month Bell hit Publix stores on at least four different occasions, each time stealing more than $300 in groceries.

"I would never have the guts to do it. I think it's strange that someone just walks out of the store like that," Publix customer Michelle Purvis said Friday.

Video shows the woman picking out expensive fish and meats and putting them in her cart. Police say she works with a different male accomplice each time, who fills his cart with less expensive items.

Police say as Bell leaves the store with her cart full of groceries, the man waits inside.

"By then they've unloaded the first cart of groceries and she's on her way," Daytona Beach spokesman Jimmie Flynt said.

The man then leaves the store claiming he forgot his wallet in the car, according to police.

The two take off together with hundreds of dollars worth of food and merchandise.

Police arrested Bell Friday morning in Daytona Beach at a home she was staying at on North Beach Street. She is charged with four counts of grand theft.

Customers said they are relieved they will no longer find her in their checkout lanes.

"Prices go up when people do that and it is a bad example. I don't want my kids to see someone get away with it," Purvis said.