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A stockroom employee was sentenced to prison after items worth more than £45,000 were stolen and later sold on an online marketplace

 

Lai Uong had been working at John Lewis in Bluewater for over 17 years when an internal investigation was launched after stock continued to go missing from the store.

The 47-year-old from Gravesend was sentenced to prison on Monday 20 June 2022 at Woolwich Crown Court after admitting to handling stolen goods. He was sentenced to two years and eight months in prison.

The court heard how stock from brands such as Apple, Windows, and Samsung went missing from the store’s stockroom between October 2017 and June 2018. Laptops, wearable technology, and mobile phones were among the items.

As part of an internal investigation, a test purchase of some Apple AirPods was made on an online selling site linked to Uong. The item was later identified as John Lewis stock.

Officers conducted a search of Uong’s residence and discovered Apple products with a retail value of £33,799. These were later identified as John Lewis stock.

Officers discovered more than £24,000 in electrical goods sales on the online selling site as part of their investigation.

Customers who purchased the items were contacted again, this time to request serial numbers for the products they purchased. All of these items were confirmed to be John Lewis stock, with a retail value of £11,799.00.

The total retail value of the stolen merchandise was £45,598.

Uong was also fined £170 in costs, and a Proceeds of Crime Application was filed.

‘After a long and protracted investigation, I am pleased with the outcome achieved from the courts, this demonstrates our willingness to get the best possible outcome for the victims and hold offenders accountable for their actions,’ said investigating officer Jacqueline Brown of the Bluewater Police Team.

‘His employer put a lot of trust in him, and he not only let his employer down, but he also lost his job and will now serve time in prison for handling stolen items.’