New Jersey couple accused of scamming Lowe's for thousands in free merchandise

Photo credit: Ildar Sagdejev - Wikimedia Commons

Officials say the defendants used a computer glitch to have items sent to their home without payment

Growing up, just about everyone learns that you shouldn’t do something wrong just because you can get away with it. Unfortunately, that lesson may not have sunk in for one New Jersey couple.

According to a report from the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office. Romela and Kimy Velazquez have been charged with exploiting a glitch on home improvement retailer Lowe's’ website to have $258,000 worth of merchandise shipped to their address without paying for it.

County prosecutor Joseph D. Coronato says that the Lowe's Organized Retail Crime Manager brought the case to the attention of the Brick Township police and alleged that the defendants posted several stolen merchandise items on a local Facebook Group “Buy and Sell” page, offering “New in Box” items for less than half their original price.

On August 3, agencies executed a search warrant on the Velasquez’s home and say they recovered enough stolen merchandise to fill an 18-foot trailer. Some of the more expensive items included a Honda Lawn Mower, a Stainless Steel Weber Grill, a Dewalt Power Washer, and an Aluminum Gazebo.

In all, the authorities say that the couple obtained merchandise totaling over $258,000, although only just under $13,000 of it was found to be Lowes merchandise. An investigation is ongoing to determine which other retailers were victimized by the alleged scheme.

Romela Vasquez has been charged with 2nd degree Computer Criminal Activity for accessing a computer system with the purpose to defraud, 2nd degree Theft by Deception for attempting to obtain stolen merchandise, and 3rd degree Theft by Deception for the receipt of nearly $13,000 worth of merchandise without payment. Her husband was charged with 3rd degree receipt of stolen property and 3rd degree fencing.

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