Authorities in Prince George's County have charged five people in the large-scale theft of plastic pallets and delivery containers.
State's Attorney Glenn Ivey says the ring stole containers belonging to Coca-Cola, Pepsi-Cola and other companies from stores such as Safeway and CVS and transported them out of state. He says demand for recycled plastic has grown around the world, making this form of theft lucrative.
Officials say retail and wholesale food distributors have suffered an estimated $10 million in losses in the last year from this kind of theft.
Ivey says the losses sustained by the companies from this kind of theft trickle down to consumers.
Four of the people charged are Maryland residents and one is from the District of Columbia. They range in age from 27 to 48.