Indictment: North Charleston pawnshop was hub on Internet theft ring

A federal indictment claims Eugene Jones, the owner of Patriot Pawn on Rivers Avenue in North Charleston, recruited people to steal merchandise from stores to sell on eBay. Jones was behind the counter and aware of the indictment when this photo was taken Thursday, Feb. 14, 2013. DAVE MUNDAY Buy this photo

A North Charleston pawnshop was the hub of an Internet theft ring, according to a federal indictment filed this week.

Eugene W. Jones, owner of Patriot Pawn at 6842 Rivers Ave., recruited people to go into stores and steal specific items, including vacuum cleaners, calculators and computer software, according to the indictment.

The items then were taken to the pawnshop, where Jones, Danny Ray Beacham and John Long bought them for less than they were worth and sold them on eBay for a profit, the indictment stated.

The goods were stored at the pawnshop and a Goose Creek storage unit.

Beacham is a former North Charleston police officer who retired in September. He started with the force in February 1992 and had served as a supervisor of the vice squad, among other things, according to police records.

Beacham could not be reached for comment Thursday. His attorney, Frank Cornely, said he knew little about the case other than the indictment.

“How Danny Beacham fits into all this, we don’t have any information to comment on that at this time,” he said.

According to the indictment, Jones and Long resold the items on eBay, receiving payment through the online payment service PayPal. When eBay suspended their “specialandloweugene” account because of suspected fraud, Beacham allowed Jones to use his “cowboyzrule6w4b” account, including mailing items that were sold to buyers.

The ring sold more than $1 million worth of merchandise through eBay between 2007 and 2012, according to the indictment.

Rashaad Lewis, Jerome Smalls, Kelly Wingate, Philip Wingate, Catherine Yantis and Gerald Sullivan Jr. are accused of stealing the merchandise and delivering it to the pawnshop.

All the defendants are scheduled to appear in federal court Thursday morning to face possible charges. They are accused in the indictment of conspiracy to transport stolen goods in interstate commerce.

Jones was behind the counter at the pawnshop helping a customer Thursday afternoon. Stars and stripes bunting hung from several walls near the ceiling, with country music coming from speakers. Jones was calm and friendly when a reporter asked to speak to him.

“Yeah, I know what you’re here for,” he said.

He spent several minutes looking through the indictment, matching the names of the accused with alleged acts.

When asked if he wanted to say anything about the indictment, he said, “I made a mistake.”

It wouldn’t be his first. Jones spent time in prison after being convicted of selling narcotics in 1993, according to court records.

Former Solicitor Charlie Condon will represent Jones at the court appearance Thursday.

“He is remorseful,” Condon said Thursday. “He is cooperating fully with authorities.”

Glenn Smith and Brenda Rindge contributed to this story.

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