Man accused of stealing $28,000 worth of electrical wire with fraudulent barcode scheme

Man accused of stealing $28,000 worth of electrical wire with fraudulent barcode scheme

(As originally published with additional photos, Mon, February 12th 2024)

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (TND) — A man in Florida is under arrest again, this time accused of ripping off multiple Lowe’s and Home Depot stores to get his hands on electrical wire without paying.

Authorities say he used a fraudulent barcode scheme in 15 counties throughout Florida and the southeast US.

The Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office said it found Edrey Santo Rojas went into stores and took “authentic barcodes off smaller rolls of wire in the same color.”

Then, they said he “placed those barcodes on larger rolls of wire that cost between $300 to $500 a piece.

“Rojas then purchased the wire at the store using a debit card, but at the steeply discounted price.”

But he reportedly wasn’t done, even with that discount.

“Rojas then traveled to a different store, entered empty-handed, and selected wire matching the receipt to conduct a fraudulent in-store return.”

That way, they said, he’d get it for free.

They also said he did it frequently, stealing $28,405 worth of electrical wire during “78 confirmed and documented thefts and fraudulent returns” in seven months.

The Florida Attorney General’s Office charged Rojas with two counts of retail theft-$3,000 or more, retail theft-20 or more items, and retail theft-$750 or more.

All are felonies.

But Rojas wasn’t actually arrested on those charges.

Man accused of stealing $28,000 worth of electrical wire with fraudulent barcode scheme
Edrey Santo Rojas was arrested a dozen times in one Florida county (clockwise from top left) from 2007 to 2023. Click through for charges. (Lee Co. Sheriff’s Office)

According to the AG’s office, he was already behind bars for previous crimes: burglary to an unoccupied structure, possession of burglary tools with intent to use, trespassing posted construction sites, resisting without violence, and other counts.

He also has a no bond detainer in three separate cases, each involving fraudulent use of a credit card and grand theft charges.

Rojas, 38, has been arrested a dozen times in Lee County, Fla., mostly for fraud.

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