Ellen Goldberg, NBC 5 News
Fort Worth police say the arrest of a North Texas man has shut down a massive shoplifting operation.
Police say they have arrested a man believed to be the serial shoplifter known as "Mr. Sandals" to security guards across Dallas-Fort Worth.
Fort Worth police said Michael Fox, 44, stole tens of thousands of dollars in Frontline pet medication, Spanx shape wear and Wusthof knives. Police say Fox would resell the stolen products online.
Fox, who owns a carpet cleaning business in Rowlett, is charged with organized retail theft.
"There was nothing organized about it. I'll leave it at that," Fox told NBC 5 by phone.
Police say surveillance video from a Fort Worth PetSmart on June 3 shows him stuffing his cargo shorts with Frontline flea and tick medication, which retails for about $90 per box.
Investigators said Fox stole from 39 PetSmart stores -- some more than once -- over the past two years.
A PetSmart employee was able to get part of the license tag, and police traced it to a home in Rowlett last week.
Fort Worth police said Fox confessed to the crimes.
"He said business was slow, he had a mortgage, child support he had to pay and lots of expense for his business," Detective Frank Smith said.
Detectives said they have little sympathy for Fox. Investigators said he had nearly $300,000 in his PayPal account at the time of his arrest.
"He is doing this as his business," Smith said. "He is waking up in the morning to go and steal. Whenever we can go tie up a bunch of cases and get that dollar amount up, it's a pretty good feeling. It's a pretty big deal to us."
Fox is out of jail on bond. If convicted, he faces up to 20 years in prison.