Theft Scandal Prompts Consumer Safety

Published 08/06 2014 10:29PM

Updated 08/06 2014 10:31PM

Millions of dollars in merchandise is stolen from local stores, and re-sold online.

Now, nineteen people have been charged.

The alleged ringleaders are Michael Rupert and Kyle Hudson face federal charges.

The stolen items were put out to bid on eBay.

If you're an online shopper, how do you know if you're contributing to a crime?

"It's way too easy. e-Bay, Craig's List, I mean, it just takes a person and a computer and they can do whatever they want," says Tyler McClure.

You place a search. Your eyes scanning the screen for just the right item. With the click of a mouse, it's yours.

"You just need to put a picture, a description, and that's it. You can sell whatever you want," says McClure.

Eyewitness News Web Editor, Tyler McClure, is a frequent e-Bay user. He suggests buying from people who post their name, their picture and contact information.

"A lot of people will start an account, their feedback will be zero, they will set up a scam, and then they will delete their account."

He says he wishes e-Bay would require items to have a serial number posted.

"Its going to be really difficult to find out whether or not that is an item that has been stolen or not," says Tom Bozikis

Tom Bozikis, with the Better Business Bureau, says this recent theft ring will be a challenge to authorities.

He suggests viewing e-Bay's terms and conditions before you ever buy or sell online.

"It's very hard to determine when you are dealing with items that have been stolen like that," Bozikis.

So what is e-Bay's policy if you believe you may have purchased something stolen?

e-Bay does not allow stolen property to be sold. They say you must get the item number and seller's user id, inform the police, and have the police send e-Bay an email.

The e-Bay policy says they can only investigate allegations from the police.

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