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Barcode trick helps ‘millionaire shoplifter’ make a fortune on eBay, Indiana cops say

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An elaborate, decade-long shoplifting scheme in Indiana has come to an end — but not before the culprit raked in more than $1 million, according to police.

Police arrested the accused “millionaire shoplifter,” 35-year-old Ryan Walker of Indianapolis, after an “extensive investigation” that began in March and impacted “several large retail businesses across Indiana,” according to a news release from the Fishers Police Department.

Hamilton County court documents said Walker would put low-cost barcodes on expensive merchandise at stores such as Target and Walmart to pay less for the goods — and then would sell the items online to turn a profit, according to FOX 59.

The TV station reported that “in one example, the accused thief walked to the toy aisle at the Target on Michigan Road in Carmel and picked up a Lego Star Wars set worth $169. Police say Walker slapped a fake barcode on the box and checked out for just over $20.”

Walker had been selling the stolen merchandise over the online marketplace eBay to customers around the world since at least 2010, police said.

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Walker faces felony charges of false sales document forgery, possession of false documents and corrupt business influence, according to police.

He was booked at the Hamilton County Jail, police said.

Police said the investigation began after authorities realized a person was shoplifting from several Fishers “big box” stores. Walker’s arrest came after he was identified as a suspect and investigators did surveillance and gathered evidence to build the case, according to police.

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“Officers obtained a subpoena for (eBay) records and confirmed this individual had received payments in excess of 1.1 million dollars since 2010,” police said.

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Jared Gilmour is a McClatchy national reporter based in San Francisco. He covers everything from health and science to politics and crime. He studied journalism at Northwestern University and grew up in North Dakota.
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