A theft ring operating out of Seattle, Washington was busted by federal agents after Amazon lost $10 million worth of stolen goods over a 6-year period.
According to a search warrant affidavit obtained by the Associated Press, 2 storefront businesses posing as pawn shops purchased stolen goods from shoplifters, then shipped the items to Amazon to be sold online.
No arrests have been made yet, but the feds raided the home of the alleged ringleader, Aleksandr Pavlovskiy, 44, of Auburn.
Among the accomplices who sold stolen merchandise to the fake pawn shops were 2 Amazon contract drivers.
Their job was to travel to Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, pick up items being returned to the company and then bring them to an Amazon warehouse south of Seattle, for re-stocking and shipping. Instead, they stole the goods and sold them to the pawn shops, according to the documents.
The investigation began last summer when authorities reviewed a list of pawn shop transactions and noticed one person made 57 transactions. That person was identified as one of the Amazon drivers.
Police arrested that driver, but later released him, probably so he could turn informant and help the feds bust the theft ring.
The suspect and the other Amazon driver, Abbas Zghair, were roommates according to the affidavit.
Amazon told investigators that Zghair stole about $100,000 worth of property, including gaming systems, sporting goods and computer products — items he sold to one of the pawn shops for less than $20,000, the agent wrote.