Man arrested for running eBay shop stocked with stolen tools out of N.C. storage unit

Published: Apr. 3, 2019 at 7:18 PM EDT
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Charlotte-Mecklenburg police have arrested a man they say ran “a multi-million-dollar eBay storefront out of Charlotte a storage unit” for three years.

Edwin Barkley pleaded guilty to Interstate Transportation of Stolen Property last month in connection with the investigation by CMPD and the U.S. Secret Service.

Police say Barkley would buy tools stolen from Lowes, Home Depot, and Target and would then resell them on eBay.

Barkley’s eBay store, Tool King USA, sold $3 million in stolen merchandise between August 2015 and October 2018, according to police.

“During the course of the investigation, it was determined that Barkley would solicit assistance from co-conspirators to steal heavy-duty tools,” said Major Cam Selvey in a statement released by CMPD and Assistant U.S. Attorney Jenny G. Sugar.

Those “co-conspirators” would bring stolen items directly to Barkley, who bought the items at a price significantly below retail value.

The investigation revealed more than 19,000 items were listed and sold during the three years under the microscope. Barkley kept the items in four self-storage units at Penny Pinchers Storage off N Tryon Street.

A search warrant executed on the case in October 2018 turned up 6,400 “new, in-box items” on 83 pallets worth a total of more than $1 million.

“This seizure was the largest of stolen merchandise (by pallets) in Home Depot history,” according to the release.

Home Depot provided a statement Wednesday afternoon regarding the case.

Organized retail crime (ORC) is a serious and growing problem for all retailers. The Home Depot has dedicated ORC investigators who worked for many months on this case with law enforcement. We’re grateful for the cooperation with Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police to shut down this operation. As ORC continues to impact North Carolina, the partnerships with law enforcement and other retailers are vital in stopping fencing operations that threaten the safety of our communities. - John Goodman, Organized Retail Crime Investigator for The Home Depot