FONDA - Six people have been arrested in connection with a scheme to steal upwards of $90,000 worth of iPhones from the Gloversville, Amsterdam and Cobleskill Walmart stores, state police said.
The six charged are all from Montgomery and Schoharie counties and each face multiple felonies, state police said.
The investigation began in early August when Walmart's asset protection personnel contacted troopers about thousands of dollars worth of iPhones missing from store inventories, state police said.
The investigation revealed that, beginning in May, employees of OTS Wireless, a company used by Walmart to sell cell phone contracts in stores, continually used fraudulent information to sell contracts and phones.
On multiple occasions, one of the defendants, Arron G. Billings, 23, of Schoharie, was given stolen personal information by defendant Christopher Howland, 29, of Amsterdam.
Billings, and on some occasions two others in the scheme, then used the stolen information to set up the accounts. The phone would then be picked up and the accounts canceled, state police said.
Both Billings and Howland face three counts each of first-degree identity theft, third-degree grand larceny and first-degree falsifying business records; Eric M. Gieseler, 26, and David J. Stearns, 35, both of Hagaman, are also facing three counts of the above charges.
Jacob D. Litchfield, 19, of Richmondville and Garett W. Levoy, 24, of Amsterdam, each face two counts each of the same charges as the others.
Billings, Howland, Gieseler, Levoy and Stearns were each arraigned and ordered held on $5,000 bail. Litchfield was released to return to court later.