Private eye helps Milford police ID suspect in $60,000 Bic lighter theft
MILFORD — A 50-year-old Stratford man has been charged in connection with the theft of more than $60,000 in disposable lighters from Bic Corporation over the past two years, according to Milford police.
On Nov. 10, Leroy Mack was arrested and charged with third-degree larceny, according to police. He’s accused of stealing the lighters in 2019 and 2020, from Bic, 565 Bic Drive. He was released on a promise to appear in court Feb. 1.
Milford police spokesman Mike DeVito said this is not a case of internal theft.
“He did not work for Bic,” DeVito said. “He was a driver that was delivering to and from there, so he had access. That’s how he was able to pilfer them off over a period of time.”
According to DeVito, it was a long investigation, and included the hiring of a private investigator.
“Bic was somehow able to track it back to [Mack] through their inventory, so the private investigator followed him around,” DeVito said. “First, he became a suspect, then he was investigated and it was determined through a series of physical evidence and statements that he was the one accused.”
Mack was reportedly selling the lighters to gas stations in Bridgeport.
DeVito said that although the theft of thousands of the disposable lighters was unusual and represented a substantial loss for the company, Milford police sees all kinds of thefts from all different places. In this case, the sheer volume of stolen goods made it easier for the company to notice the missing product, he said.
“We always like to say if it’s not completely nailed down and screwed down, it has a chance of being stolen,” he said. “They didn’t lose a couple of razors or a couple of pens. With a few hundred, it could have been counted wrong or packaged wrong. When you’re missing $60,000, it makes it a little bit easier to track them.”