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Addicts turning gifts cards into cash for drugs

Posted at 5:59 PM, Jun 13, 2017
and last updated 2017-06-13 22:52:58-04

Law enforcement knows drug users will turn to crime to get their next fix. Dave Bristow with the Manatee County Sheriff's Office said people with clean records will even start stealing to get drug money.

"Once they get addicted they will go out and steal anything they can to get their hands on the drug," said Bristow.

Richard Boensch is with Retail Theft Analysis based in Tampa. He said his company is partnering with some retailers, pawn shops, and online gift card sites to track stolen gift cards.

"Many of these drug users will come in steal, return the item, receive a gift card, and then sell the gift card on the secondary market," said Boensch.

His company will track theft trends of stolen gift cards and report them to local authorities. 

"As these thieves steal and bring it back, they are getting the tax money back on something that was never paid for, Florida is losing $45-million to this kind of crime," said Boensch.

Boensch said his company is currently working the Volusia County Sheriff's Office, but they are in talks with more agencies throughout Florida.