CHARLOTTE, N.C. - The owner of Took King USA on North Tryon Street was busted in a Secret Service investigation and is accused of selling up to $9 million worth of tools stolen from other stores.
Federal prosecutors said Edwin Barkley’s store is a front because he was doing most of his business on eBay.
The affidavit said Barkley worked with boosters, who are generally drug addicts stealing goods and merchandise.
In this case, boosters allegedly stole from retail stores, including The Home Depot, Target and Lowe's.
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Barkley paid the boosters in cash -- about half the value of those stolen products, prosecutors said.
Federal prosecutors said Barkley fueled the growing drug problem, specifically opiates.
“This case highlights how drugs and drug addiction impacts the community more largely,” U.S. Attorney Jenny Sugar said. “The boosters were largely drug addicts. They were committing crimes to get money to support their drug addiction.”
The estimated value of those goods was between $3,500,000 and $9,500,000.
Barkley did not comment on the allegations. He's agreed to plead guilty to one count of transportation of stolen property and could face up to 10 years in prison.
The eBay store is closed but his North Tryon Street store is still open.
Barkley’s attorney said this was his client's first and last encounter with the criminal justice system.
The attorney said they plan to challenge the value of the stolen goods and insisted it is much less
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