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Port Orange Observer Friday, May 25, 2018 2 years ago

Five-month racketeering investigation of thefts committed by “Bay One Bandits" leads to eight arrests

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Nearly $1 million was stolen in retail theft from Home Depot.

Eight arrests were made after Volusia County Sheriff’s detectives dismantled a web of retail thieves who have been stealing high-end drills and power tools from Home Depot stores throughout Central Florida and reselling them since 2014, totaling a loss of nearly $1 million.

The five-month racketeering thefts were committed by the “Bay One Bandits,” named for the location of the drills in Home Depot. A search warrant was executed at a South Daytona pawn shop in which detectives located hundreds of new drills that were being resold via the Internet.

In January 2018, Home Depot sought the assistance of the VCSO to investigate. Since April 2017, three local stores began reporting that large amounts of Home Depot merchandise was being refunded but not being sold. They include Home Depot stores at 2455 W. International Speedway Blvd., Daytona Beach and 1551 Dunlawton Ave., Port Orange. A Palm Coast Home Depot store, 10 Garden St., N., also reported theft activity connected to one of the Daytona Beach thefts. 

The investigation ultimately led to Richard Hill, owner of Richard Hill’s Music and Pawn Shop in South Daytona. Detectives say Hill was buying stolen merchandise and selling it on eBay and out of his pawnshop. He dealt in stolen property 690 times from April 1, 2017, through April 1, 2018.

“This is a million dollars in stolen property, coming into a little pawn shop in the front door and going out the back door, through the Internet,” Chitwood told reporters on Thursday, May 24. “I would say today (Hill) is a little bit incredulous that we even come and question his integrity and how all these fell into his lap.”

VCSO detectives identified two main suspects — Steven Proctor and Amelia La Pallo — who recruited other suspects to steal merchandise from Home Depot and fraudulently return it for refunds.

The recruits became part of two “booster teams” -- one team operated since at least August 2017, committing an estimated retail theft of $100,000. The second team, active since September 2014, has stolen $814,000 in property. 

Arrests made: 

Steven Proctor: six counts of dealing in stolen property. 

Amelia La Pallo: seven counts of dealing in stolen property, three counts of retail grand theft.

Richard Hill: one count each of racketeering and conspiracy to commit racketeering, four counts of dealing in stolen property.

Auston T. Kalaczynski: 17 counts of retail grand theft, one count of dealing in stolen property; in Orange County jail.

Jason P. Paradis: 17 counts of retail grand theft, two counts of dealing in stolen property; in Brevard County jail.

Paul R. Paradis: six counts of retail grand theft, two counts of dealing in stolen property.

Daniel Conway: two counts of retail grand theft, three counts of dealing in stolen property.

Danielle M Duguay: one count each of retail grand theft and dealing in stolen property.

The defendants are held on bonds ranging from $65,000 to $150,000.

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