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Friday, April 25, 2008
Candy scam: Woman nabbed for stealing, reselling Skittles

By TIM EBERLYThe Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Published on: 04/25/08
Diana McKenzie has a candy habit.
She can't stop stealing it.
Recent headlines:

McKenzie is down on her luck and out of work. To make money, McKenzie came up with a sweet-tooth hustle: She steals candy from grocery stores and sells it to children and others, claiming the money is for her church.
But last week, McKenzie got greedy — she was caught stealing $86 worth of candy from the Kroger on Headland Drive in south Atlanta. She hid the bags of candy, mostly Skittles, under her clothing and in a bag.
She was released from jail Friday after completing a nine-day jail sentence for the candy heist.
When reached by phone Friday, McKenzie was half-embarrassed, half-unrepentant.
"I beg, I borrow and I steal — any means necessary for my children," McKenzie, 54, said. "I don't call it stealing. I call it survival skills.'
She said she's been running the candy scheme for three months, after she and her husband split up and she was left trying to support three daughters and a grandchild.
"Candy is a great commodity," she said. "There's a great demand for candy."
This is how it works: McKenzie goes to a grocery store and fills her clothes, pockets and bag with goodies.
"Some under my chest, some in my pockets, some in my bag," she said.
Then she goes to apartment complexes and sells the candy for 25 cents to kids, saying the money goes to her church. "You know they buy it, right?" she said. "Anything for the church."
Normally, she only takes enough candy from stores to make a decent profit. On April 18, she went too far. She says her daughter had a doctor's appointment the next day and she needed money for her co-pay and medication.
"I got greedy — gluttony," she said.
A security guard at the Kroger on Headland Drive met McKenzie as left the store. In her shirt and a bag, she had $86.42 worth of Skittles and other candies.
Why Skittles?
"Children love Skittles," she said. "And plus, it's summertime; they don't melt."
She was arrested on a charge of shoplifting — her third such arrest in as many months, she said.
"Evidently, I must not be too good at what I do."
http://www.ajc.com/metro/content/metro/atlanta/stories/2008/04/25/skittles_0426.html


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