Store owner says women stole his booze

CLUB 57 owner believes heist was inside job

MIAMI – A South Florida business owner is hoping someone can identify two women caught on camera stealing thousands of dollars worth of merchandise from his store.

It happened the day after Christmas at CLUB 57, a bar and liquor store on Northwest 22nd Avenue at 57th Street.  There were no guns, no ski masks, no threatening demands. The two crooks just pointed to the items they wanted to steal and the woman behind the counter was all too happy to bag it up, and hand it over.

"She was basically giving the liquor away," said manager Mercedes Green who told Local 10 she believes it was an inside job.

Surveillance cameras captured the clerk pulling dozens of bottles Patron, Hennessey, Remy Martin and other expensive liquor off the shelves. She appears to ring up the merchandise and the women appear to pay before they walked out the front door with bags of booze.

The duo made four trips in and out of the store, each time carrying out almost more liquor than they could carry. Green said the surveillance cameras and bullet proof glass were no deterrent.

"Isn't it ironic that you do all you can to protect yourself and the business and you have employees that are basically helping get rid of items?" Green said.

At the end of the night, the cash register was a little short and $3,000 worth of liquor was gone.  On closer inspection of the video, it appears the clerk didn't ring up all of the merchandise and the stack of cash one of the women placed on the counter was really a wad of $1 bills.

Green says the clerk's explanation didn't add up either.

"Basically she said they were going to come back and pay for the items," she said.

"Did anyone ever come back and pay?" asked Local 10's Roger Lohse.

"Nope, not at all," she replied.

The clerk was promptly fired.  According to the owner, Miami-Dade Police are investigating the case and they're now looking for the two women in the surveillance video who drove off in white, four-door Honda Accord, and are apparently preparing for one heck of a New Years Eve party.

"Exactly, they're very bold, very bold", Green said.

The store owner declined to identify his former employee because he said she's cooperating, but he does intend to press charges against her.

Anyone with information about the two women in the video is asked to call Crimestoppers at 305-471-TIPS.