8 On Your Side story leads police to accused booze bandits

LARGO, Fla. (WFLA) – Alert News Channel 8 viewers are being credited for helping Largo police nab two “booze bandits.” 

On July 3, we reported about crooks who helped themselves to top shelf liquor over and over again and strolled out the door.

Frustrated with repeated robberies, the owner of the Beverage House went on the offensive.

Suzanne Pringle posted pictures of the robbers on Facebook and called 8 On Your Side.

The result? Two crooks busted and more to come.

On security camera video, they seem like regular customers. They chat with employees and look up and down the rows of liquor.

But, three times in late June and early July, they hit the mom and pop Beverage House on East Bay Drive in Largo, bypassing the checkout and heading for a waiting SUV.

Largo police busted Michael Miller, seen leaving with booze stuffed in his shorts.

David Labbe, seen dashing out the door, was busted two days later, stolen champagne in hand.

“Within 48 hours after you went on the air, we had at least six to eight people calling with leads,” said Suzanne Pringle.

Both Miller and Labbe have lengthy arrest records. Labbe spent two stints in state prison for trafficking in stolen property and just got out last October.

“I even had one of our own customers say that one of the suspect’s moms had told them it was her son,” said Pringle.

Arrest paperwork mentions News Channel 8 and anonymous tips called in.

“All News Channel 8. We would have been nowhere at this point. It truly is because of viewers who were nice enough to call me and call the police, and you for agreeing to report the story,” said Pringle.

Tampa Bay area law enforcement is working to catch others believed to be involved in these booze heists.

The owner of the Beverage House hopes they all serve time.

Follow Peter Bernard on Facebook

 

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