Police: Del. mini markets paid shoplifters to steal items from pharmacies for resale

Authorities in Delaware's largest city have closed five local mini-markets amid an investigation into organized shoplifting targeting major drug store chains.

Wilmington police said Tuesday that authorities located stolen merchandise bearing Walgreens or CVS labels at each of the five businesses.

Licensing and inspection officials identified additional violations involving health and safety that led to the immediate closure of all five businesses pending compliance.

Police say an investigation into a string of shoplifting incidents discovered that local store owners were providing details about items of interest such as soap and deodorant to individuals who would then steal the items from pharmacies.

The store owners would pay the shoplifters about $1 per item, then resell the stolen goods to customers at a higher price.

Police say the investigation is continuing.