Kroger gets convictions in $500,000
Big K cola four-year scam operating out of their Sharonville warehouse.
A warehouse employee returning to work to
retrieve a forgotten wallet helped uncover a four-year scam that cost
Kroger $500,000 in Big K cola and led to two men going to prison. That
employee returned to the Sharonville warehouse and when he saw Charles
Lillard loading trucks with cans of the soda, he contacted police.
Lillard, who has been to prison four times, was caught and helped lead
police to Robert Writesel, owner of a recycling center. Writesel said
the scam started years ago when workers at the warehouse left on the
dock damaged or spoiled cans of the pop to be given away. But Lillard,
who has eight felony and 20 misdemeanor convictions in three states,
soon connived with Writesel to report some of the soda as damaged or
missing and then sold it to Writesel who would sell it to smaller stores
and other businesses. Kroger investigator Dan Dansak told Hamilton
County Common Pleas Court Judge Andrew "Skip" West at Wednesday's
hearing that Writesel and his workers sold that soda for less than it
costs Kroger to make it. Dansak added the $500,000 estimated loss to
Kroger was "a minimum," but the damage was far beyond financial for his
employer. "We cannot vouch for the integrity and safety of that
product," Dansak said. "Our reputation is on the line. That product has
our name on it." Writesel would pay Lillard cash or drugs for the soda
and, Dansak said, once was so brazen that he used four 26-feet moving
trucks to transport the stolen soda from the warehouse. "It wasn't a
couple of cases of soda from the dock," Dansak said, asking the two men
be sent to prison. Lillard, 53, was sent to prison for four years.
Writesel, 47, received a 2½-year prison sentence. Three others involved
in the case – George Davis, 24; Todd Stewart, 25; and Kelvin Henry, 37 –
previously were convicted and received probation.
Pennsylvania Target shoplifter is suspected
of thefts from 24 stores in PA and New Jersey. The investigation is ongoing.
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city theft ring in Charlotte, NC
hitting Wal-Mart stores. Locust and Rock
Hills police have indictments but need more help identifying more of these