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Former McChord exchange worker up on federal charges for stealing high-end electronics

Post by Adam Lynn / The News Tribune on Aug. 22, 2012 at 12:16 pm |
August 22, 2012 12:16 pm

A former stockroom foreman at the McChord Field Exchange has been accused in federal court of stealing more than $325,000 in electronics and other merchandise from the store.

Andrew Quitugua allegedly admitted stealing from the exchange for nearly three years and selling the ill-gotten goods to a man he met through Craigslist, court records show.

Quitugua, who has yet to enter a plea, is scheduled to appear in U.S. District Court in Tacoma next month for a pre-trial hearing.

A federal defender assigned to represent him declined to comment on the case Wednesday.

Quitugua was arrested Aug. 16 on suspicion of theft of public funds, court records show. He was released on his personal recognizance following his initial court appearance.

A special agent with the Air Force Office of Special Investigations zeroed in on Quitugua earlier this year while investigating why physical inventory at the exchange did not match electronic records of what should be in stock.

A check of records for Feb. 19 showed the physical inventory short two Apple iMac computers, special agent Erik Srock wrote in a complaint.

Srock said he viewed security-camera footage from that day. It allegedly showed Quitugua taking two iMacs from the sales floor before the store opened, placing them into an unmarked brown box and wheeling the box into the stockroom, records show.

Srock interviewed Quitugua in early March, and the defendant allegedly admitted stealing a lot more than the two iMacs.

“Andrew Quitugua provided a sworn written statement admitting to the theft of iMacs, iPods and TVs from the McChord Field Exchange,” Srock wrote in his complaint.

Other security-camera footages shows him stealing weapons accessories, compasses, Leatherman tools and other merchandise, the complaint shows.

Investigators searched Quitugua’s home and found “60 items located within his residence that were either stolen from the McChord Field Exchange or purchased with money obtained from selling the items,” the complaint states.

Antugua allegedly used some of the money he received in exchange for the stolen items to buy a $10,500 motorcycle.

He told Srock he often would use an exchange truck to transport the stolen items to a warehouse on Fort Lewis where he would store them until he could pick them up.

Investigators later interviewed a man identified in court records as “D.N.” He told them he met Quitugua after buying something from him via a Craigslist ad.

“Andrew Quitugua began to text D.N. every Sunday with a list of items available for sale, including Nintendo DSi’s, Playstation 3s, Xbox’s, iPods, cameras, iMacs and televisions,” the complaint shows.

D.N. estimated he bought $150,000 to $175,000 in merchandise from Quitugua over a more than two-year period.

“D.N. asked Quitugua a few times how he obtained the items he was selling,” the complaint shows.

Quitugua allegedly said his brother’s ex-girlfriend supplied the merchandise.

 

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