LAKELAND (FOX 13) - Deputies said they busted seven thieves at two Victoria's Secret stores who may be responsible for stealing tens of thousands of dollars worth of merchandise.
The suspects are accused of ripping off two stores, one in Lake Wales and another in Lakeland, at least 26 times.
Deputies told FOX 13 they recovered bras, clothing and other merchandise.
"(It is) technically not a panty raid," said Carrie Horstman of the Polk County Sheriff's Office.
The Victoria's Secret items may have been worth more than $50,000.
"We started this operation last week, not knowing who the suspects were," said Horstman. "We just set up surveillance at these different stores, and we happened to watch them in the act."
Deputies said the merchandise was sold on the street for about half price in Tampa and Palm Beach.
Four of the suspects are from Tampa.
"What some people might think of shoplifting is actually a group of people working together. An organized group going in and taking a lot of stuff and selling it out on the street," Horstman said.
Several of the suspects were caught on surveillance video using bags that were lined with material that prevented security alarms from ringing as they left, investigators said.
Deputies say four of the alleged thieves received several hundred dollars a month in public assistance.
"They are getting food stamps, they are getting disability," said Horstman. "Basically, they are getting paid to go steal."