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On Key Biscayne, reports of theft are routine, but when it comes to points for criminal creativity the alleged theft by a customer service associate at Winn-Dixie certainly is right up there.

“We hadn’t seen anything of that nature,” Chief Frank Sousa Friday when asked about the case. 

Sayra Suarez, 41, received a civil citation March 4 for allegedly stealing $389.95 by converting customer reward points into gift cards for personal use. 

Suarez told police she used customer phone numbers and points using an account under the name Carla Martinez to convert them into gift cards, according to the investigation report. She received a promise to appear in court for petty theft on a date yet to be determined.

“She admitted to taking reward points and converting them into gift cards for her personal use, citing financial difficulties as the motive,” Officer Alec Scavo wrote in the report.

Suarez also received a trespass warning to not return to her former place of employment. 

Winn-Dixie, after the publication of this story, reached out and said the former associate was actually not stealing rewards points but was allegedly processing fradulent refunds to Winn-Dixie gift cards when no customers were present.

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“Winn-Dixie prioritizes and ensures the security of all customer information, including the use of rewards points, connected with our rewards program,” Winn-Dixie said in a statement.

Her job as customer service representative is described, by the company, as providing “continuous attention to customer needs; greet, assist and thank customers in a prompt, courteous and friendly manner.”

Winn-Dixie did not respond to a phone call and email seeking comment. The police report stated that a egional manager called police, citing 52 transactions conducted by Suarez between Sept. 10 and Feb. 28. 

The manager  also provided video  footage showing Suarez allegedly engaging in the unauthorized transaction.

Fully-registered customers can own discounts off groceries through their purchases. Every 100 points is worth $1 off groceries, but Winn-Dixie often runs point multipliers. 

Suarez, a native of Honduras, had no comment when reached on Friday afternoon.

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John Pacenti

JOHN PACENTI is a correspondent of the Key Biscayne Independent. John has worked for The Associated Press, the Palm Beach Post, Daily Business Review, and WPTV-TV.

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JOHN PACENTI is a correspondent of the Key Biscayne Independent. John has worked for The Associated Press, the Palm Beach Post, Daily Business Review, and WPTV-TV.