Polk detectives bust shoplifting operation - FOX 13 News

Polk detectives bust shoplifting operation

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LAKELAND (FOX 13) -

Detectives say Malynda "Puffy" Ford's wallet was getting fat because of the success of her shoplifting operation. The Polk Sheriff's Office just arrested her and 15 of her associates.

As of late Thursday afternoon, they were looking for two more people connected with her ring.

Detectives say Puffy would go into a store and shove seven or eight garments under her clothes then just walk out. Investigators say she would make money one of two ways: she would sell the items outright or hire someone to return the item for store credit, then sell the store credit card for one-third face value.

At year's end, Polk's Sheriff Grady Judd estimates the ring may have brought in and dumped up to $400,000 worth of stuff.

"Not only are they stealing from the stores," Judd said. " The store has to cover that shrinkage so they add that back to our cost."

He described Ford as a pro and says she has been shoplifting for the last 18 years with a long criminal and prison record.

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