MILLIONAIRE ARRESTED ON SHOPLIFTING CHARGES AFTER BUYING $8 MILLION PRIVATE ISLAND
A Florida man was arrested on Saturday for shoplifting at a Kmart, just days after he purchased a multi-million-dollar private island off Key West.
Andrew Lippi, 59, was accused of stealing about $300 worth of household goods from a Kmart in Key West, where police said he purchased various items between March 30 and April 4, replaced them with cheaper items and returned them for a refund.
Lippi made headlines last week when he purchased Thompson Island, a private estate formerly owned by the philanthropist and developer Edward B. Knight, for $8 million, according to ABC Miami affiliate WPLG.
Lippi also owns a 12-bedroom resort compound in Key West that MTV used to film a season of “The Real World” in 2006. That property rents for about $1,800 a night on Airbnb, WPLG reported.
Lippi stands accused of stealing multiple items, including LED light bulbs and a $55 Hamilton Beach coffee maker, which he allegedly “replaced with a much older coffee maker” and returned for a full refund, according to the Key West Police Department.
Police said Lippi also bought a $150 Keurig coffee machine on March 30, returned it and received a full refund a day later. Kmart employees notified the store’s loss prevention officer after realizing the coffee machine box instead contained a basketball, according to police.
Lippi denied denied stealing the items, according to a police report.
“Lippi stated he did not change out any items prior to returning them,” the arresting officer wrote in the report. “I asked Lippi about the Keurig coffee machine being replaced by a basketball, and he stated the clerk should have realized there was no coffee machine by the weight of the box.
“I asked Lippi about the light bulbs, and he stated he returned the light bulbs because he paid too much money for them and did not know how they were switched.”
ABC News could not reach Lippi for comment late Monday night, but he told the Miami Herald that the situation “has to do with a commercial dispute.”
“It’s very complicated and I’d rather not get into it,” Lippi told the Herald in a phone interview. “I will say this, that the way it was handled by Key West police and the Monroe County Sheriff’s Department was wonderful. Some of the finest people I’ve ever dealt with who were kind throughout the whole process.”
Lippi was arrested on grand theft charges and released the following day. Jail records show he posted no bond for his release. He’s scheduled to appear in court for an arraignment on April 18.
ABC News’ Ben Stein contributed to this report.