Best Buy Employees Busted For Switching Items Inside Boxes

For those of you who were wondering why you recently bought an empty box from Best Buy, look no further for your answer. Three Best Buy employees from a Bridgewater, NJ store were busted for removing items from their boxes and placing them inside the boxes of less expensive items, which they would then buy.

From the Courier News:

Charged with theft, and conspiracy to commit theft, are Michael Lombardozzi, 25, 1178 Fairfield Road, Bridgewater; Jose Caraballo, 18, 452 Front St., Dunellen, and Randy Billie, 21, of Paterson, all sales associates at the store, according to papers filed in Superior Court.

Caraballo told Bridgewater police that he received a call at home Dec. 28 from another employee to come to the store and pick up a box. Court papers state that Caraballo knew it was a box of a relatively low-priced item that was repacked and contained a higher-priced item.

Caraballo took the box to the cashier and paid the price listed for the lower-priced item, authorities said.

When he got home with the box, Caraballo opened it and found an LCD projector valued at $1,499, according to court papers.

Lombardozzi told police that on Dec. 23 he took a Mac Book Pro, valued at $2,700, and put it in a box of a lower-priced item and gave it to another employee to buy, according to court papers. The other employee then gave it back to Lombardozzi, authorities said.

So when you get home and find that your “MacBook” box contains someone like Mr. Lombardozzi’s bathroom tiles, don’t be surprised when you try to return the box and “they don’t believe you.”

Best Buy employees charged with theft [Courier News] (Thanks, Ray!)


Edit Your Comment

  1. socalrob of the 24 and a half century says:

    It’s been cold this winter… especially here in southern California… maybe its because hell is slowly freezing over as Best Buy has now joined the list of companies admitting that they are not god.

  2. Wormfather says:

    Admitting? Yeah right, this was “an isolated incident”.

  3. arsbadmojo says:

    Lesson here – always open the box and verify the contents while still in the store?

  4. manok says:

    A person I know that worked at staples said they would do this all the time.

  5. Omi says:

    Remember, people only get busted when they get greedy. This is one of those things that you do real big once or twice and then never speak of again.

  6. okvol says:

    “One piece at a time” by Johnny Cash…

  7. 3ZKL says:

    @Wormfather: an isolated incident. . .which they are taking seriously

  8. vastrightwing says:

    Are these the same clowns who refuse to honor their extended warranty?

  9. DallasDMD says:

    @Omi: Thanks for the advice and encouragement.

  10. target_veteran says:

    This just in! Underpaid employees find way to increase compensation through “fringe benefits!” Details at 11.

    Seriously, anyone who’s worked retail knows about this kinda stuff. Heck, most people have probably done this unknowingly at somet point. This really isn’t news.

  11. Caprica Six says:

    I liked how they gave the suspects addresses:

    “Michael Lombardozzi, 25, 1178 Fairfield Road, Bridgewater”

  12. homerjay says:

    aaaand that takes care of that. We can shop safely now.

  13. lemur says:

    When you buy from a brick-and-mortar store, you can check the content of the box in front of the cashier. However, when you order online there’s no such protection. Any suggestions for online purchases? Obviously, you want to buy from a reputable place. You also want to buy with a credit card so that you can initiate a chargeback if needed. But anything else?

  14. econobiker says:

    But who got the bricks, pieces of wood, or bathroom tiles that they put in the original boxes?

  15. itisjustme says:

    now that we have their names and addresses we can see what they purchased at sears

  16. humorbot says:

    I am really sick and tired of trying to buy a box of ceiling tiles from Home Depot and winding up with a 42″ Sony WEGA LCD TV.

  17. timmus says:

    Oh noes.. where is Randy Billie’s street address?

  18. sir_eccles says:

    @big keytee: I wonder if he shops at Sears…

  19. go to hell Omi, you’re just as bad as these people.

  20. CPC24 says:

    “Pssst… Hey, youse wanna Macbook? I gots a good deal for ya…”

  21. HeHateMe says:

    So that article that is linked above says that one of the employees is being charged with theft of an x-box system valued at $1948… are they pricing out electronics on Ebay now? Where did they come up with that price?

  22. Geekybiker says:

    @big keytee: Now we can do see what he bought at sears…..

  23. Ass_Cobra says:

    Hopefully when someone who is less than careful winds up with a box of rocks vs. the $2500 PC that they paid for they can point to this article.

  24. NoWin says:


    I liked that one!

  25. theblackdog says:

    @humorbot: I’d be more than willing to give you a box of tiles for that TV

  26. warf0x0r says:

    This happened at a store I used to work at. PC Techs were taking merch and installing it in their friends PC’s then walking them out of the store and selling the merch on ebay.

  27. ElizabethD says:

    Quelle surprise!

  28. MPHinPgh says:

    @homerjay: aaaand that takes care of that.


  29. ninjatales says:

    Bestbuy indeed but only for the employees.

  30. MrEvil says:

    Back when I worked at Best Buy, an employee in the shipping receiving office was stealing laptops by unboxing them, wrapping them in a wad of old pallet wrap and then stuffing the laptop into an old pallet. When the store closed the employee would take the pallet out back (with the rest of the old pallets), punch out, and then go around back to claim the booty. Said employee also did this with cameras and stuff, even stuff that was customer property. The only reason he got caught was he tried to slide a copy of The Matrix Reloaded before the street date.

    Stores that sell all the cool tech toys seem to have the highest amount of theft.

  31. XTC46 says:

    no surprise. Stealing from big stores is way too easy, especially internally. The reason is, they pay their “security” minimum wage, and they are regular employee’s who become friends with the other employee’s. I work at CompUSA and while policy is all employee’s bags are searched on the way out but it never is. The few times I was searched, I had my laptop, iPOD, cellphones (I carry 2) and other gadgets with me, and no one questioned it. They also have a stupid book you are supposed to register your electronics in with the serial number, but it doesn’t take a genius to write in the serial number of something you plan on taking. The only time people get caught is when they get stupid.

  32. goodkitty says:

    Dumb criminals. The mistake here was leaving an obvious trail. Mr. Evil’s friend had the idea. Better yet, just open your own Best Buy, and then you can legally steal from everyone all the time. :D

  33. redstorm986 says:

    Too make this clear as I am related to one of the individuals that is involved with this incident. Theft was a problem through this location. They were not leaving empty boxes on the shelves. Corporate LP came in and placed pinhole cameras in the location and caught Jose. Jose then told LP officials about the other people that had been stealing from that location to save his ass. They got caught because they shouldn’t have stolen laptops in the first place and they let all their buddies in the scheme.

  34. dantsea says:

    The only thing extraordinary about this story is that Best Buy turned the matter over to the police. This sort of thing is frightfully common in retail; every idiot thinks they’re the first person to come up with a scam when in reality it’s a textbook lesson in Loss Prevention 101.

    And for those who do manage to come up with something new, they eventually get caught because they get greedy. Do something enough times, eventually someone else will catch on.

  35. DeeJayQueue says:

    @big keytee: I’m pretty sure they’re not suspects anymore, since they’ve confessed and been arrested and seemingly charged with the crimes.

  36. redstorm986 says:

    @DeeJayQueue: None of these individuals have provided statements to the police acknowledging their guilt. None of them have plead guilty in court. They got fired from Best Buy and have told the story to police however none of them have given formal statements to police. What part of innocent until proven guilty doesn’t the newspaper understand. It wouldn’t matter if they walked away all charges dropped Mike’s name is dirt, this was front page above the fold.

  37. Jangie says:

    Similar things happened to me at a Best Buy in Fairfax, VA. I bought an MP3 CD player for my car, got home, and found out that none of the CD’s I’d burned worked. Turned out that they pulled a switch on me, and installed the non-mp3 version. When I went back to the store, the lady helping me seemed almost resigned to this having happened and it not being my fault, as if there was a pattern of this happening at the store. They didn’t have any of the MP3 versions of that specific radio left, so they let me choose another one of around the same value.

  38. ianmac47 says:

    Why are all these Best Buy stories coming out of the Bridgewater, New Jersey store?