The Florida Keys man who bought an $8 million island off Key West this month was arrested over the weekend after police said he schemed to rip off Kmart of $300 in household goods.
Andrew Francis Lippi, 59, of Key Haven, was arrested Saturday on a felony charge of grand theft of $300 to under $5,000. His court appearance is set for April 18.
A week before the arrest, he bought the well-known Thompson Island, the home to the Knight family for 70 years and most recently, philanthropist Edward B. Knight. Lippi said his family would live in the estate for a while.
Lippi also owns the “Real World” house on Key Haven, just north of Key West, where the MTV series shot its 17th season in 2006. The “Real World” home rents on Airbnb for $999 per night.
The total value of stolen goods from Kmart, 2928 N. Roosevelt Blvd., was $300.59, police said. The items were a Keurig coffeemaker, a Hamilton Beach coffeemaker, eight light bulbs and a bed skirt.
According to the police report, between March 30 and April 5, Lippi bought the items and then returned the original boxes with other things packed inside.
Reached by phone on Monday, Lippi denied the charge but didn’t want to go into details.
“Basically it has to do with a commercial dispute,” Lippi 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.”
But pressed about the theft allegation, he said, “It’s very complicated and I’d rather not get into it.”
Lippi told police he did not switch out any items. But police said he put a basketball in the Keurig box instead of the coffeemaker, which he paid $165 for on March 30 and returned the next day.
Instead of the original light bulbs he bought, other light bulbs were in the box and a bed skirt was returned with only a pillow case inside, the arrest report states.
Lippi said he bought the bed skirt but when he got home, the pillowcase was inside.
Kmart provided security camera footage of Lippi with a cart that contained the bed skirt. The Hamilton Beach coffeemaker was switched out with an older model, police said.
Lippi was released from the Stock Island Detention Center the next morning after his arrest. Jail records show he posted no bond for his release.