MOUNTLAKE TERRACE — An employee of a Mountlake Terrace audio gear business is suspected of internal thefts that could exceed $77,000, according to police reports.
AudioControl imports and sells power amplifiers for homes and cars, as well as high-end microphones and equalizers.
Open boxes and missing inventory led AudioControl to install security cameras in its warehouse this year. Footage showed an employee, 32, unpacking raw products that were shipped in from Asia and repacking them for UPS, according to the reports.
A review of shipping records showed dozens of packages were being mailed, without being ordered as usual. The return address was the employee’s home in Edmonds, police wrote. The company found an unauthorized eBay account where someone was listing AudioControl products under the business name “Audio Regal.”
A check of the inventory revealed 151 units were unaccounted for over the past two years. The employee had been working there for about 1½ years.
At dealer prices, the loss was $40,582. The retail value was almost double.
The man’s boss confronted him in late October. The employee told him he’d been saving amps “in case of shortages,” according to police reports. Later, he reportedly said he’d been sending them to friends, or keeping them for himself. Sales on eBay alone added up to $11,000.
Police linked the man to 65 shipments where he’d listed his own return address. The man was fired.
Officers arrested him Oct. 30 at his home. He was released from jail the next day, without needing to post bond.
AudioControl declined to comment Friday.
Court records show at the Edmonds man’s last workplace, a Snohomish roofing business, he used a company credit card for $6,000 in purchases at newegg.com. At that job, he was also accused of forging checks and emailing a false hourly wage to the payroll department to give himself a raise.
In a statement to a judge in December 2016, his boss wrote that the employee started stealing two weeks after his hire date. He hoped the man’s punishment would give him time to reflect on the harm he’d caused.
“I hope that spending 30 days and nights in jail will make (him) aware of his actions,” the roofer wrote, “and how it has impacted so many people and a small business that employed him and put trust into his hands only to be violated and ripped off.”
The boss’ statement from two years ago notes the man should be able to pay back the money quickly, because he had found another job.
Caleb Hutton: 425-339-3454; firstname.lastname@example.org. Twitter: @snocaleb.