Postal Inspectors: Be Careful When Buying Online

12:02 PM, Oct 25, 2013   |    comments
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KENTUCKY -- It was an inside job. A group of scam artists stole hundreds of high-end apparel bags. The scam continued on Ebay and that move was the beginning of the end.

Melissa Maxwell, is a customer service representative for LeSportsac. They distribute the fashionable brand of high end purses and travel accessories.

The company's distribution center was robbed and then caught in the middle of an online scam involving their merchandise.

Sheriff Gus Skinner said, "When they first started they were just taking one or two from each box and by doing that it was really not showing up on radar that things were really missing."

Police say the thieves then became brazen. Maxwell said, "All the boxes were empty... and there was stuff all over the floor... and the bags were gone."

More than 200 bags were stolen, costing the company more than $50,000 in sales. From the beginning, authorities suspected it was an inside job.

Skinner said, "We knew they had worked at LeSportsac - and one of them had a brother - so we knew they had an inside connection."

Then, officials realized the stolen goods were being sold on ebay. Sheriff Skinner said, "One of the key pieces of evidence we had against them was that they were selling these purses on ebay that hadn't even been released yet... so we knew they had to be stolen from the distribution center because they hadn't even been released yet..."

That's when postal inspectors got involved. They were able to track the goods back to several people. Nine individuals were arrested in connection with the case.

Police say when you're buying online - be careful. Check the ratings to see what type of ratings they have. If they just opened, that might be a red flag.

As for LeSportsac, new security measures are in place at this distribution center and Maxwell says they will be extra cautious when hiring new employees.

All of the defendants in this case were charged with buying or possessing bags that they knew had been stolen. The sentencing varies from 2 years in prison to probation depending on past criminal histories.

Postal Inspectors/ WFMY News 2

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