US & Canada

Florida man accused of shoplifting after buying $8m island

Mug shot of Andrew Lippi Image copyright Monroe County Sheriff's Office
Image caption Andrew Lippi stands accused of stealing about $300 worth of household goods

A Florida man has been arrested for shoplifting at a supermarket, shortly after he bought a multi-million-dollar private island.

Andrew Lippi is accused of stealing about $300 (£230) worth of goods from a Kmart department store, the Key West Police Department reported.

Mr Lippi had made headlines days earlier by purchasing Thompson Island off Key West for $8m (£6.13m).

He denied the allegations and blamed it on a "commercial dispute".

Mr Lippi allegedly stole items, including LED light bulbs and a $55 Hamilton Beach coffee maker, which he then "replaced with a much older coffee maker" and returned for a full refund.

Police said Mr Lippi also purchased a $150 coffee machine, came back with the box and was given a full refund. However, Kmart employees then noticed the returned box contained just a basketball, according to police.

"I asked Lippi about the Keurig coffee machine being replaced by a basketball, and he stated the clerk should have realised there was no coffee machine by the weight of the box," the arresting officer noted in the report.

Mr Lippi told the Miami Herald that the situation was down to "a commercial dispute".

"It's very complicated and I'd rather not get into it," he said.

"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."

Mr Lippi was released but is due to appear in court on 18 April, ABC News reports.

Rich and famous shoplifters

There are plenty of cases involving wealthy and successful people being caught shoplifting.

Hollywood star Winona Ryder was convicted in 2002 of shoplifting clothes worth $5,000 in Beverly Hills.

Actress Lindsay Lohan was ordered to do community service and a "shoplifting course" in 2011 after being caught shoplifting a $2,500 necklace.

In the UK, celebrity chef Antony Worrall Thompson was caught stealing onions, a sandwich, cheese and wine from a supermarket.

Experts say there are a number of possible reasons for why the rich and famous steal items they can afford.

Some, like Canadian psychologist Dr Will Cupchik, theorised that wealthy offenders are often attempting to temporarily fill a void - in a similar way to which people eat or drink too much - and struggle to comprehend their behaviour when caught.

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