By: WCTV Eyewitness News
January 12, 2018
CRAWFORDVILLE, Fla. (WCTV) -- The Wakulla County Sheriff's Office says a Crawfordville business owner has been arrested, accused of running an elaborate retail theft operation.
Following an investigation, on Thursday, deputies arrested Sylvia Pritchard, the owner of Wakulla Gold Buyers, LLC. and Lighthouse Lady Cleaning Service, Inc.
WCSO says the investigation began after the thefts of multiple bicycles from the Walmart in Crawfordville, during which a suspect was captured on surveillance video. Detectives with the Criminal Investigations Division reviewed the video footage, took screenshots of the thief, and posted them to Facebook. With the assistance of Wakulla County citizens, the thief was identified.
Detectives also identified three other individuals who assisted with the theft. WCSO says, during an interview, the suspects admitted to participation in these crimes and explained Sylvia Pritchard's alleged role in the thefts.
WCSO says, "The investigation revealed that this bicycle theft was not a “typical” retail theft; rather, it was one of multiple retail thefts committed by an organized cadre of thieves working in conjunction with one another on behalf of Sylvia Pritchard."
During an investigation, detectives determined that Pritchard had organized the theft of numerous items from multiple businesses.
Investigators say Pritchard would provide a “shopping list” of items to be stolen to one of multiple thieves, who would then steal the items and deliver them to Pritchard. Pritchard would allegedly determine what the retail price was for the stolen item by scanning the bar code with an app on her cellphone, then compensate the thieves in cash with half of what the retail price would have been for the stolen items.
During her arrest, investigators also obtained a search warrant for Pritchard's residence on Bettywood Circle in Crawfordville. During the search, investigators recovered and seized numerous items they say were obtained as part of the theft scheme, including four bicycles, a Disney Cinderella 24-volt kids electric car valued at $398, household supplies, pet food, portable electronic hardware, and personal hygiene products.
Pritchard's daughter, Starla Brooke Pritchard, was also arrested on an outstanding warrant for violation of probation.
Pritchard is charged with one count of organized dealing in stolen property and three counts of dealing in stolen property, all felony charges. Pritchard and her daughter were both booked into the Wakulla County Jail.