NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Four Long Islanders are accused of selling stolen frozen shrimp to a Chinese restaurant to support their drug habits, police said.
The suspects had stolen at least $2,400 worth of frozen shrimp from supermarkets since December 2012 and sold it to the Tai Yu Chinese Restaurant in Mastic Beach, police said.
“The four subjects had drug habits that they had to feed,” Sgt. Joseph Suarez said, adding that the bags — which are normally worth $20 — were being sold for $5.
The suspects — Joseph Elardo, 34, Sharmane Cromer, 34, James Donnellan, 33, and Nicole Johnson, 22 — were arrested last Wednesday.
They have been charged with 22 counts of petit larceny, two counts of attempted larceny, two counts of possession of a hypodermic needle and one count of criminal possession of a controlled substance, police said.
The owner of the restaurant — 34-year-old Xue Chai Li — has been charged with criminal possession of stolen property.
Suffolk County Police Sgt. Joseph Suarez told WCBS 880 reporter Sophia Hall the four stole in different ways.
“Sometimes it would be just in the car and out the door. Sometimes it was in jackets and sometimes in bags. They went several times in the course of a day,” he said.
The Suffolk County Department of Health also cited the restaurant with a sanitary code violation for an unapproved source of authorized food.