MURRIETA (   — Authorities have arrested a 22-year-old man they said stole more than $20,000 worth of alcohol from Ralphs and other stores in the past year.

Officials said Dominque Clayton, of Riverside, was linked to the thefts at the Ralphs stores during the past five months. The stores were located in four Southern California counties, officials said.

Clayton was reportedly arrested when he allegedly stole several bottles of vodka and champagne Friday from a Ralphs in Murrieta.

Police were dispatched to a store located in the 23800 block of Washington Avenue around 8:30 p.m. and said they encountered the subject trying to leave in his car when they arrived.

The booze allegedly stolen Friday was worth about $130. Police found another $1,200 worth of stolen alcohol when they searched Clayton’s trunk, said Murrieta Police Sgt. Scott Montez.

Officers confirmed the alcohol was stolen from Ralphs by checking the UPC barcode labels, the sergeant said.

Clayton has allegedly admitted to alcohol thefts over the past three years, but it was unclear what other businesses he allegedly stole from, Montez said.

Police do not believe Clayton was stealing the liquor for personal consumption. Officials suspect Clayton was selling the booze to a barber in Rialto.

Clayton, unemployed and on probation for burglary in Los Angeles, was arrested for suspicion of burglary and possession of burglary tools, Montez said.

(©2014 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services contributed to this report.)


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