LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - Tens of thousands of dollars worth of cell phones went missing and the last place they were tracked to was to UPS. Four people are facing felony charges, including two now former employees who are accused of taking them right out of the packaging and sending off the empty boxes.
"This what we found - 27 pounds of empty cell phone boxes," said Det. Rodney Underwood of the Louisville Metro Police Department's 7th Division.
Underwood has two big boxes filled with small empty boxes that were sent UPS, but the cargo was never delivered.
"All these are empty, but you can see they just ripped right into the package and took the phones out and took the empty boxes back," said Underwood.
Two men, 20-year-old Dquan Morrison and Jamir Kirby, are facing a felony theft charge for taking them out of the boxes. According to Underwood, Morrison and Kirby would take the thin phones, slip them down into their workbooks and just walk out of the facility. Underwood said the men then sold about two dozen of the stolen phones to 39-year-old Ricky Offutt, who sold them on the website, craigslist.
"Regularly the ones coming out of UPS were sold to the first guy for $80 to 100 a piece, right in that range," said Underwood. "He in turn would put them on craigslist and (the other guy) was selling them, some were as low as $200, some he made $300 plus, $350."
Police say 33-year-old Derrick Stewart bought some of the phones and he resold them on eBay. But Stewart said he didn't know they were stolen. Offutt and Stewart are facing a charge of receiving stolen property over $500.
"It's our belief that everybody had a reasonable understanding that they were purchasing stolen property based on the amount of money they were getting these phones at," said Underwood.
Metro police have recovered more than 20 of the 66 missing phones, which they ended up around the world in places like Indonesia, Russia, and California.