Cary police say that a Florida man had a scheme that involved putting phony bar-coded labels on store merchandise to it would ring up at a much lower price than it really carried.
In an arrest warrant served Thursday and two search warrants returned to court the same day, detectives said Joseph Frank Edinger, 34, of Orange Park, Fla., had an eBay website through which he sold items bought at steep discounts because of the stickers.
In the back of a black Jeep that was parked outside a Target store on Walnut Street on Sept. 28, police found mailing envelopes and boxes, bubble wrap, a printer for making labels, several security cameras, three WiFi routers,three iPads, a laptop computer and marijuana, according to one of the search warrants that detectives turned in at the court’s clerk’s office.
Detectives also said they found a receipt for a package that had been mailed to a Kentucky address that day and several tablet computers. On the floor near where Edinger was sitting inside the Target security office, they said, were several labels with lower prices for merchandise. They also found a shipping label addressed to someone in Newport Beach, Calif., they wrote.
On Oct. 6, police got a search warrant to look through Edinger’s computers.
Edinger was first arrested at the Target store and charged with larceny by changing a price tag and obtaining property by false pretense. Target loss-prevention staff had detained him and had video of the Jeep. In jail the next day, he was served with an Onslow County arrest warrant for obtaining property by false pretense there.
Another arrest warrant that police swore out Wednesday charged Edinger had slapped a $34.97 price label on a Nest thermostat at a Walmart store at 2010 Kildare Farm Road on Sept. 28, before he was arrested at the Target.
The original price for the Nest was $249, and the warrant accused Edinger of falsely obtaining the difference – $204.03.
Target officials believe the Cary store was not the only one involved, police said. Store security officers at the Walnut Street store had been alerted by company emails that had photos of Edinger and the Jeep.
In asking for the warrant to search Edinger’s computers, police said that Target investigators believed he was linked to price-label changing at stores in Florida, Georgia and South Carolina. Target was working with eBay to shut down Edinger’s account, police wrote.
Edinger was held on $10,000 bail on the latest charge and was to be in court for that Friday.