Thursday, April 27, 2006

Stolen Devices Worth $1.7 Million Pawned For $300

LYNNWOOD - A man who walked into a pawnshop with a stolen piece of equipment last week got $300 for it.

As it turns out, he should have held out for a bit more.

The item he sold was actually worth $1.7 million, say police, who happened to come in to retrieve the electronic device while the man was in the shop.

Police believe a ring of suspected thieves and drug users had no idea how much a package was worth when they took it from a front porch, then sold it last week.

"This wasn't an underground conspiracy for this type of equipment. They had no idea of the value of this thing," Lynnwood police spokeswoman Shannon Sessions said.

Neither did police until they talked to the owner.

The Lynnwood woman is a distributor for a German company that specializes in high-tech equipment. The stolen equipment is a universal protocol tester that measures radio frequencies. It is generally used by cell phone companies, police said.

A delivery truck dropped it off on her porch last week. It appears the thieves followed the truck to the house and scooped up the 70-pound box before the woman even knew it had arrived.

She first assumed that it hadn't been delivered, but reported it stolen after the company tracked the delivery, Sessions said.

Detectives investigated some leads and found it at a Highway 99 pawnshop. As they were picking it up, the man who pawned it came back to the shop to get more money for the equipment, Sessions said.

He was booked into the Snohomish County Jail April 7 for investigation of trafficking in stolen property, and released two days later.

The equipment was returned to the company, Sessions said.

A second suspect was arrested this week in connection with the theft. Police believe the Everett man, 36, stole the equipment from a drug dealer before giving it to the man who pawned it .

Police say they are seeing more thieves follow delivery trucks and make off with packages left on porches and doorsteps.

"Mail thieves are becoming more resourceful," Sessions said.

Detectives continue to investigate the theft, looking for the person who originally stole the package from the front porch and other people who may have been involved.

"We think it was passed around by more than the two people arrested," Sessions said. "None of them seemed to know what they had stumbled on."

Source - The Daily Herald Co.


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