WAYNE, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — A group of thieves is targeting liquor stores across northern New Jersey, making off with thousands of dollars in merchandise.

As CBS2’s Meg Baker reported Monday, a man with a bright teal shirt was spotted on camera outside the Bottle King in Wayne Township. He was acting as a lookout while his buddies loaded up on expensive liquor.

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Wayne police Detective Sgt. Robert Simpson showed Baker surveillance video from the thefts, which happened over the past three months.

“You see a couple of males. They basically are casing the joint looking to see where store employees are,” said Wayne Bottle King manager Dan Schmude. “They usually get away without us even seeing it.”

Schmude said the thieves were smooth that staff didn’t realize items were missing until they took inventory the next day — and noticed expensive bottles of scotch and vodka were gone.

“About, I’m going to say, $1,200 worth of stuff,” he said.

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The crew operates with three men inside and two outside, including a getaway driver.

“They’ve used different cars. We have their cars on video. They used a late-model Honda Accord. They used a BMW – either an X3 or an X5, and they also used a Nissan pathfinder in the past,” Simpson said.

The brazen thieves hit other Bottle Kings in the area, getting away with more than $8,000 worth of alcohol.

“The thefts started back in August. They started hitting Livingston, Wayne and Glen Rock. They have made a couple of other attempts as recently as a few days ago in Livingston,” Simpson said.
The Wayne location has upped security, including a TV screen where shoppers and thieves can see themselves on camera.

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Police suspect the men are reselling the products.