A state worker from Schuylerville along with three associates in Queensbury was charged with running a stolen laptop ring, selling an estimated $30,000 worth of Dell and HP computers he took last year.
Brian Baker, 46, faces felony grand larceny and misdemeanor official misconduct charges for his role in allegedly stealing 51 laptops during 2015, according to state Inspector General Catherine Leahy Scott.
The computers were supposed to be going to various state agencies. Investigators tracked down the devices after seeing Facebook listings from a Queensbury computer store and garage sale group.
Baker, an Information Tech Support II worker for the state Office of Information Technology Services, allegedly sold the laptops, which were still in their boxes, to William Shouse, 47, who then sold them to Larry Bishop, 39, owner of LGB Computers in Queensbury.
Shouse, Bishop and Terra Wedman, 36, who helped operate the computer store with Bishop, all face felony charges of criminal possession of stolen property.
Wedman also was charged with criminal possession of marijuana, according to the inspector general.
“For the better part of a year this criminal ring used a state employee’s position and access to systemically steal valuable laptop computers from taxpayers and brazenly advertise them on Facebook for sale at a Warren County computer store,” Leahy Scott said in a prepared statement.
The investigation found the computers advertised on LGB Computers’ Facebook page, as a South Glens Falls Online Garage Sale group page. The postings listed computers with the same specifications as those stolen from the state.
They were advertised at prices between $399 and $479 each, plus tax, complete with manufacturer’s warranty. Investigators found several laptops at the store with the serial numbers of those stolen from the state.
Baker was arraigned in Albany City Court and released under the supervision of probation officials pending further court action.
Shouse was arraigned in Queensbury Town Court and is due to return to court Feb. 1. Bishop and Wedman are both due to appear in Queensbury Town Court on Jan. 11.
Baker’s employment status was unclear. A call to his office phone was met with a recording saying he was unavailable. The Office of Information Technology Services referred questions to the inspector general’s office.
According to state records, Baker earned $53,606, in 2014, the latest date for which records were immediately available.
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