Theft ring preyed on people with heroin addictions to steal power tools, Montco prosecutors say

The alleged leaders of a retail theft ring, operating in Montgomery, Berks and Lehigh counties, were caught with nearly $100,000 in stolen power tools, authorities said Friday. According to police, the two alleged ring leaders preyed upon people addicted to drugs, recruiting them to steal the tools and other items from The Home Depot, Lowe’s and other department store and then selling the stolen goods online.Authorities have charged Joseph A. Payea, 67, and Penelope L. McClain, 49, both of Macungie, in Lehigh County. The investigation began in September when Lower Pottsgrove police recognized a pattern of thefts at home improvement stores.

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