Pastor turned ‘Anointed Liquidator’ charged in $1.4 million theft from Home Depot

(RNS) — The Anointed Liquidator, a virtual store on eBay, has a 100% approval rating and has registered more than 35,000 items sold over the past decade, according to its page on the online retailer’s website.

But for all its great customer service, the Anointed Liquidator appears to have broken the biblical commandment against stealing.

An organized crime ring in Florida has allegedly stolen more than $1.4 million in merchandise from Home Depot and resold the haul through Robert Dell, former pastor of the Rock Church in St. Petersburg, according to Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody. Dell allegedly fenced the items through the Anointed Liquidator eBay store, which has been active since 2011.

“This pastor clearly skipped over the commandment—thou shall not steal,” Moody said in a statement. “Our FORCE taskforce shut down his criminal operation stealing millions of dollars worth of merchandise from Home Depot stores across the state to resell the items on eBay.” 

Robert Dell. Photo courtesy of Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office

According to Florida officials, Dell worked with four accomplices to steal power tools made by Milwaukee and DeWalt, as well as other products in seven counties, taking from several stores a day.

Dell is identified as a pastor and founder of a drug treatment center. However, the Rock Church says that Dell left the church years ago.

“Just to clear the record,” read a statement on the church’s website. “Robert Dell 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.”

But Florida officials said that Dell allegedly used his spiritual authority to coerce people into taking part in his scheme.

“According to the investigation, Dell demanded the crimes under threat of abuse and used the positions of being a pastor and founder of a (halfway) house to manipulate other vulnerable people to participate in the criminal scheme,” the attorney general’s statement said. “Home Depot suspects Dell operated this scheme for more than 10 years, resulting in the loss of more than $5 million.”

Dell is charged with “racketeering, conspiracy to commit racketeering and dealing in stolen property as an organizer.” State officials also charged Dell’s wife and mother as co-conspirators.

Officials from the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services also worked with the investigation.

“Organized retail crime is a growing problem for retailers, and The Home Depot is fighting it on all fronts, “ Scott Glenn, a vice president at Home Depot, said in a statement. “We’re proud to partner with the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services to work together to stop dangerous criminals from stealing from our stores.”

The investigation was part of the state attorney general’s efforts to address retail crime.

The Anointed Liquidator eBay store is still online and lists hundreds of ratings from customers who bought nail guns, impact wrenches, grinders and other power tools, earning praise for being “Prompt, Polite, & Professional!”

 “We are sold out, but here are some other stores you may be interested in,” the store’s website read.

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