Two defendants involved in an alleged internet theft ring centered out of a North Charleston pawn shop pleaded guilty on Thursday in federal court in Charleston.
Catherine Yantis and Gerald Sullivan, Jr. pleaded guilty to conspiracy to transport stolen goods in interstate commerce.
Prosecutors said about $1 million worth of stolen merchandise made its way into the Patriot Pawn shop in North Charleston and then onto eBay, at the direction of the store’s owner, Eugene Walter Jones, who recruited shoplifters. Among them were Catherine Yantis, Sullivan and others.
The shoplifters would steal items like vacuum cleaners, computer software and kitchen appliances from stores that included Lowe’s, Wal-Mart and Home Depot, prosecutors said.
Jones would purchase the items from his team of shoplifters at a below-market price, then sell them on eBay, according to prosecutors.
Jerome Smalls, whose case remains pending, is alleged to have been also recruited by Jones to shoplift the items, according to prosecutors.
Kelly Wingate, 37, and Philip S. Wingate, 33, pleaded guilty earlier this year to their roles in the scheme as shoplifters.
Retired North Charleston Police Officer Danny Beacham is accused of selling those stolen items on eBay with Jones, according to prosecutors. Beacham’s case also remains pending.
Jones, pleaded guilty to his involvement in June. He has not been sentenced yet.
Yantis and Sullivan, who will also be sentenced at a future date, face up to five years in prison.
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