The 54-year-old Auburn man the FBI suspects of master-minding a theft ring in South King County that relied on shoplifters, drug addicts, drug users and even Amazon delivery drivers for its inventory has been arrested on an unrelated charge of child pornography, the Associated Press reported Monday.
In a complaint unsealed Monday, an FBI agent wrote that investigators found hundreds of pornographic images of children when they searched the man’s phone for evidence of the theft scheme, AP reported.
The theft ring connected to Amazon scored $10 million from 2013 or 2014 to 2019, the FBI alleges in court documents.
Although the government has not yet filed any charges in the case, according to an unsealed application for a search warrant that was served on the man’s home and three businesses early last month, the FBI is investigating the man and his associates for four potential crimes: transportation of stolen goods in interstate commerce; sale of stolen goods in interstate commerce; conspiracy; and money laundering.
According to the search warrant, which the FBI filed in U.S. District Court in Seattle on July 10, two storefront businesses posing as legitimate pawn shops – Innovation Best in Kent, and Thrift Electro in Renton, the latter also known as Buy Trade and By-Trade — bought the items, which they then transported to a warehouse in Kent.
From there, the U.S. Postal Service, United Parcel Service and other mail carriers unwittingly transported the stolen goods to local warehouses or to Amazon warehouses outside the state of Washington for sale in interstate commerce on Amazon’s website.