Chain Reaction Cycles (CRC) noticed a £100,000 hole in their stock, but it wasn’t difficult to track down, with four nearby eBay sellers listing a lot of stuff suspiciously like the items they’d had go for a wander. It took one test purchase, then it seems a bit of fingerprint and serial number matching to establish the stock had come from CRC’s warehouse. Two brothers, Brian and Alan Bowen, have been sentenced for selling stolen goods, Brian having done £88,000 in sales over the course of six months, and Alan £14,000 over four months.
The exact route the stock took out of CRC’s facility isn’t confirmed, with the identity of the thief (or thieves) unknown at present. The brothers mentioned profits of 30 – 70% on their sales, so whoever originally stole the parts evidently had a lucrative and much simpler criminal business set up, without even having to pay eBay fees or deal with postage. In court, Brian claimed to have bought the goods at a car boot sale in plain packaging. £50K or so on dodgy car boot stuff seems like quite a habit (the seller must have had an estate car?), and this story apparently did not stand up in court.
Just to make it all super easy for the Police to trace, the brothers used Paypal, tying it to family members bank accounts. Brian has been jailed for six months, and Alan given a suspended sentence. The Belfast Telegraph reports:
“Prosecuting counsel Philip Henry told Belfast Crown Court that Chain Reaction Cycles noticed “a significant loss of its stock” from its warehouse in Carrickfergus. The company discovered that four traders on eBay were selling bicycle parts similar to those it believed to be missing from its stock and a company director decided to do a test purchase. After the matter was reported to police, Alan Bowen’s fingerprints were found on the bubble wrap of the packaging. Detectives discovered that £88,645 had been deposited via PayPal into the Halifax bank account of Brian Bowen’s mother Valerie.”