GWINNETT COUNTY, Ga. Sept 30 2011– Gwinnett County police call it a bizarre and elaborate scheme. They said two men purchased and stole thousands of name-brand ink cartridges, swapped them with knock-offs, and then returned them for cash.
Investigators said the man may have earned more than $1 million.
Channel 2’s Kerry Kavanaugh dug up the warrants for the two suspects, Christian Dunca and Vladut Larion.
Police said they were stealing the cartridges for at least two years.
They said once they got their hands on the name brand ink cartridge they would sell them off on eBay.
Investigators showed Kavanaugh photos of hundreds of ink now in evidence. Police said they seized more than 3,000 of them after searching the suspects’ homes.
Police said first the men would purchase large amounts of Epson ink cartridges from Best Buy and Target stores.
“They would bring them out and then refill the box with an empty cartridge or an off-brand cartridge, something cheaper,” said Cpl. Jake Smith with the Gwinnett County Police Department
Then, investigators said they had tools to reseal packaging and boxes so they looked as good as new.
“All kinds of box cutters, shrink wrap guns, glues for repackaging and all these boxes to make it look professional,” Smith told Kavanaugh.
They believe the pair made the purchases here in Georgia and then returned them to stores in Florida and New York for a full cash refund.
Police said the theft is bizarre, elaborate and time consuming, but apparently very lucrative.
“It’s been estimated about a million dollars and the loss to these retail outlets is about a half a million dollars,” Smith said.
To pad their pockets even more, police said they would then sell the Epson cartridges on eBay.
Target was the first to notice the large cash refunds it was doling out for the cartridges and contacted authorities.
Police arrested Dunca outside a Best Buy in New York. They said he is scheduled to be deported.
Police said the alleged accomplice, Larion, is still in Gwinnett County and are asking him to turn himself in.