In September 2013, the Columbia County Sheriff’s Office Criminal Investigation Division began an investigation into thefts from a local business, Anderson Columbia Co. Inc.
The investigation focused on an employee who was suspected of ordering items on corporate accounts and then selling them for personal gain. The stolen property consisted of new and used laptops, computers, monitors, i-Pads and i-Pods. Some of these items have been sold both in the immediate area and internationally via the internet on eBay.com. Consequently some of the stolen items purchased on eBay were resold on Amazon.com by a third party order filler.
The Sheriff’s Office recovered a number of items and identified victims by doing an open source search of eBay and Amazon. One result of an open source search is the attached screen shot showing a verified stolen i-Pad being sold on eBay by one of the suspects. Amazon and Amazon’s third party order filler are being very cooperative in this investigation and have continually advocated for their customers affected by this fraud. Representatives have stated that the third party filler for Amazon will monetarily reimburse the victims who purchased one of these stolen i-Pads through Amazon.com.
Detectives are seeking the public’s assistance in identifying additional victims of this scheme and aiding in locating the items sold locally or via the internet. The investigation has confirmed that over 300 i-Pads and an undetermined amount of new and used computers were sold from January 2008 to September 2013. As of this date, approximately 85 victims have been identified and confirmed that they purchased an i-Pad from one of the suspects over the internet. Approximately a dozen computers have been identified and recovered locally from victims, however additional victims are believed to exist.
This is an ongoing investigation and arrests are forthcoming. If you believe you are a victim, or have any information regarding this case contact Detective Caleb Douglas of the Columbia County Sheriff’s Office at 386-758-1375 or Crime Stoppers of Columbia County at 386-754-7099.