The way federal prosecutors tell it, not only did four men conspire to steal a large quantity of MacBook Airs, but they did a poor job of covering it up.
The men were arrested on Wednesday and appeared before a federal judge in White Plains, New York. They are accused of “participating in a scheme to steal, transport, and sell a shipment of approximately 1,200 computers, valued at over $1 million, that were bound for two public high schools in New Jersey.”
According to the criminal complaint, one of the men, Anton Saljanin, was hired to transport 1,195 laptops from a vendor in Massachusetts on January 15, 2014, after having successfully delivered 1,300 other laptops.
Saljanin appears to have stopped at home in Yorktown Heights, New York, where he left the large, rented Penske truck in a parking lot overnight. When he came back the next day, he told police, the truck was gone. Of course, he told the authorities, he had no idea who could have done such a thing, nor did anyone else know that he was making the delivery.
Later in the day, however,Saljanin told Yorktown Police that he went looking for the truck, and happened to find the truck in a parking lot just off of Interstate 84 in Danbury, Connecticut, approximately 27 miles away. He claimed that he spotted it from the highway by coincidence,
But when a detective turned up at the Yorktown location where the Penske truck was supposed to have been stolen from, he did not find any broken glass on the ground. Meanwhile, a second detective, upon arriving at the Danbury parking lot, found broken glass suggesting that a window had been smashed there rather than in Yorktown. They reasoned that the truck could not have been forcibly stolen from Yorktown and then abandoned in Danbury.
Front Street Blues
Both detectives concluded that the truck “would not have been visible in the Danbury Parking Lot to a driver passing by on Interstate 84.”
Surveillance footage later also revealed the truck was seen stopped at a 7-11 in Somers, New York, where Saljanin and his brother, Gjon Saljanin, who had accompanied him, are seen for a few minutes. By 9:45pm, the time the truck was supposed to have been stolen, it was seen heading for the Front Street Parking Lot in Yorktown.
But rather than take the most direct route, the truck was captured on this footage as taking a circuitous route near the home of another one of the defendants, Ujka Vulaj.
As the prosecutors write:
The duration of the detour, approximately 29 minutes, described above, of the truck matching the description of the Penske Truck from the route claimed by ANTON SALJANIN and GJON SALJANIN, corresponds to the approximate length of time it would take to drive to VULAJ’s residence, unload the computers, and return to the route to the Front Street Parking Lot.
The hole in the story was further corroborated by the fact that when the FBI pulled the cell-site records for Anton Saljanin’s phone, the found that his phone did not follow the route that he had claimed he took when he went to look for the truck.
Vulaj, in conjunction with the fourth suspect, Carlos Caceres, are believed to have sold some of the laptops for as little as half of their regular retail price—$500 in cash.
The four men have been released on bail, and three of their attorneys did not immediately respond to Ars’ request for comment.
Ted Green, the listed lawyer for Anton Saljanin, said he no longer represented Saljanin, and when Ars asked why, he declined to answer.