Deputies bust theft ring run out of South Daytona liquor store, Volusia sheriff’s office says

Suspects made off with about $375,000 in stolen merchandise, deputies say

VCSO: Arrests made in Operation Bengal King (Copyright 2021 by WKMG ClickOrlando - All rights reserved.)

VOLUSIA COUNTY, Fla. – The Volusia County Sheriff’s Office says deputies busted six members of an organized theft ring run out of a liquor store in South Daytona.

Investigators announced the arrests of Anis Ahmed, 53; Selina Ahmed, 46; Zachery Ridgdill, 29; Diana Chandler, 36; Nicole Cormier-Maloney, 27 and Frank Robinson, 41 on Thursday. Deputies said two more people involved in the theft ring — Derek Wollet and Joseph Bennett — both died of heroin overdoses before they could be arrested.

The arrests were all part of Operation Bengal King, according to a post on the sheriff’s office’s Facebook page.

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Anis and Selina Ahmed, husband and wife, were the ringleaders, running the operation out of the South Daytona business, Bengal’s Discount Liquor, according to the sheriff’s office. They were arrested on Wednesday, records shows, and are out of jail after posting bonds of $225,000 and $25,000 respectively.

(Left) Anis Ahmed, 53 (Right) Selina Ahmed, 46 (Copyright 2021 by WKMG ClickOrlando - All rights reserved.)

Investigators said they would purchase items such as high-end electronics, power tools and cigarettes, which were stolen from Walmart, Lowe’s, Home Depot and Walgreens stores in Volusia, Flagler, St. Johns, Orange and Brevard counties. The couple would then sell the stolen goods at their store, records show.

Deputies said the group stole about $375,000 worth of merchandise from October 2019 to June 2020.

Most members of the group would just fill up their carts with items and walk out of whatever store they were ripping off, according to the sheriff’s office, but one member of the theft ring resorted to violence at least three times.

Investigators said Ridgdill threatened a Home Depot worker in St. Johns County with a stun gun when he was confronted, attempted to shock a loss prevention officer with a stun gun during a fight at a Brevard County store and attempted to run over a Volusia County deputy while fleeing from other law enforcement officers.

The charges for each member of the theft ring include:

  • Anis Ahmed (arrested Wednesday): conspiracy to deal in stolen property, organized dealing in stolen property and two counts of dealing in stolen property.
  • Selina Ahmed (arrested Wednesday): dealing in stolen property.
  • Zachery Ridgdill (arrested Feb. 20, 2020): aggravated assault on a law enforcement officer, flee/attempt to elude with lights siren active, felony driving while license canceled, possession of a short-barreled gun, possession of a firearm by a convicted state felon. Ridgil is awaiting trial.
  • Diana Chandler (arrested Nov. 2020): grand theft and dealing in stolen property. Chandler accepted a plea of five months’ time served and five years’ probation.
  • Nicole Cormier-Maloney (arrested Sept. 2020): grand theft and dealing in stolen property. Cormier-Maloney pleaded guilty and is now on probation.
  • Frank Robinson: grand theft and dealing in stolen property. Robinson pleaded guilty and is due to be released in February 2022.

Home Depot spokesperson Christina Cornel said organized retail crime is a big issue exacerbated by the online marketplace.

“Organized retail crime impacts many of our communities and is growing. The issue is significant enough that The Home Depot has teams that specialize in investigating ORC and work with law enforcement to identify operations that sell stolen merchandise. We’re grateful for the partnership with the Volusia County Sheriff’s Office to make these arrests,” Cornel said.


About the Author:

Thomas Mates is a digital storyteller for News 6 and ClickOrlando.com. He also produces the podcast Florida Foodie. Thomas is originally from Northeastern Pennsylvania and worked in Portland, Oregon before moving to Central Florida in August 2018. He graduated from Temple University with a degree in Journalism in 2010.