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Florida Pastor Accused of Running Shoplifting Ring With DUI Diversion Program Participants

The former pastor at a Florida church who ran its diversion program for DUI arrestees was arrested on August 7, 2023, accused of coercing program members into a shoplifting ring that allegedly stole $1.4 million in merchandise from St. Petersburg-area Home Depot stores.

Investigators with the state Office of Agricultural Law Enforcement and the Office of Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody (R) accused Robert Dell, 57, former pastor of The Rock Church and Recovery Program, of pressuring participants “under threat of abuse” to pilfer merchandise that he re-sold from an e-Bay store called “Anointed Liquidator.” He faces theft and conspiracy charges. His wife, Jaclyn Barrie Dell, 39, and mother, Karen Dell, 73, were also charged in the scheme, along with program participants Daniel Mace, 36, and Jessica Wild, 41.

State Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services Commissioner Wilton Simpson said Dell’s arrest “sends a clear message that Florida is relentless in our pursuit of justice.” Just how relentless is open to debate, though; Dell’s crime ring is accused of hitting stores “five to six times a day” since 2016.

His former church took pains to separate itself from the disgraced pastor, posting on its website that he “is NOT the pastor of The Rock Church. He wasn’t the founding pastor either. He was the pastor when it was named the Rock Community Church and Transformation Center, and hasn’t been a pastor for the last 2-1/2 years.”

Dell was also charged with possessing cocaine and drug paraphernalia. He pleaded not guilty to all charges and was booked into the Pinellas County Jail on a $752,150 bond. See: Florida v. Dell, Fla. 6th Jud. Circ. (Pinellas Cty.), Case No. 2023-CF-7263.   


Additional sources: USA Today, WTSP

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Related legal case

Florida v. Dell