A clerk at a Peekskill deli and another city man pulled off an illegal malt-for-money deal when the clerk bought stolen beer from the other man and then put it on sale at the store, police said.
The alleged brew bandit, Robert Patterson, 36, has been charged with six counts of petty larceny in connection with a series of thefts of cases of beer from the Stop & Shop supermarket at 1831 Main St. and the CVS drugstore at 1827 Main St., city police Det. Sgt. Raymond Henderlong said Tuesday.
The employee, Salah Saleh, 34, of Peekskill, a clerk at the Peekskill Deli at 501 Highland Ave., was charged with unauthorized purchase of alcoholic beverages, a misdemeanor.
The thefts Patterson is accused of allegedly date to Jan. 1. He was first charged Jan. 27, after police got a report of the theft of eight cases of beer from the Stop & Shop, police said. Patterson had loaded the stolen beer into a taxi and was trying to leave the parking lot when the cab was stopped and Patterson was arrested, police said.
Patterson initially was charged with three counts of petty larceny. After further investigation by Peekskill police Det. Ralph D'Aliso, he was charged Jan. 28 with three more counts relating to beer thefts at the Stop & Shop from Jan. 4 to Jan. 26, police said.
Finally, after further investigation by Det. John Bennett, Saleh was determined to have bought "six to eight" cases of beer from Patterson on Jan. 13 and allegedly placed them into Peekskill Deli store stock for sale, Henderlong said. New York State's Alcoholic Beverage Control laws require licensed establishments to buy alcoholic beverages only from licensed dealers, police said.
The deli's parent company also was issued a summons related to a single retail sale of the beer, police said, and will have to appear before the state Alcoholic Beverage Control board.
No further charges are expected in the Peekskill case, Henderlong said. "It's closed on our end, but we're working closely with other municipalities and the State Police" as the police investigate some similar unsolved cases in other jurisdictions.
In such scams, the thief generally sells the beer at below-market value to a clerk, who sells the beer, unlisted on the store's inventory records, at the advertised store price and then keeps the remainder, Henderlong said.
"It's also a safety issue," Henderlong said. "Who's to say somebody doesn't open up a bottle and do something to it?"
Saleh was arrested and charged Friday and released on his own recognizance. He will be arraigned Feb. 19, Peekskill City Court officials said. Patterson remained Tuesday at Westchester County Jail in lieu of $5,000 cash bail or $5,000 bond, court officials said. His next court date is March 4.
No attorney for Saleh or Patterson was listed in court records Tuesday, officials said, and Saleh declined to comment when reached at the store Tuesday.