Jan. 12, 2017 By Hannah Wulkan
Two men were charged with stealing thousands of dollars of merchandise from several Home Depot stores throughout Queens and Long Island, including one in East Elmhurst, District Attorney Richard Brown announced today.
According to the charges, 43-year-old Armando Diaz of College Point and 21-year-old Kevin Marmolejo of Maspeth went to four different Home Depot stores between August and this month and filled shopping carts with more than $14,000 of merchandise and walked out without paying.
“The defendants in this case are accused of going from store to store with the intent of stealing thousands of dollars worth of merchandise,” Brown said. “The men are accused of going on shopping sprees and then exiting the stores without stopping at the cashier to pay. One of the defendants, when apprehended, was allegedly in possession of fake twenty dollar bills. This kind of thievery will not be tolerated.”
Both suspects were arraigned yesterday and were charged with third-degree burglary, third- and fourth-degree grand larceny, third- and fourth-degree criminal possession of stolen property and fifth-degree conspiracy. Diaz, who works in the construction industry, is being held on $100,000 bail and could face up to seven years in prison. Marmolejo, who was also charged with first-degree criminal possession of a forged instrument, is being held on $50,000 and could face up to 15 years in prison.
According to the charges, the first instance of theft was on August 17, 2016. Diaz and an unapprehended man were seen on surveillance entering the Home Depot in Flushing around 7 a.m. They were seen about 40 minutes later exiting with a cart full of unpaid merchandise worth about $4000, including 5-gallon drums of paint, sheets of plexiglass, bifold doors and other items.
On October 26, Diaz and another man were seen entering a Home Depot in East Elmhurst around 7:15 a.m. and again leaving about 40 minutes later with a cart full of unpaid merchandise including light fixtures, paint, plexiglass and doors worth about $4,500.
Diaz and Marmolejo were seen entering a Home Depot on Jericho Turnpike in Nassau County, Long Island on Tuesday around 6 a.m., leaving about 20 minutes later with a cart filled with RockSolid clear epoxy, a Tyvek house wrap, primer sealer, vinyl flooring, garbage bags and other merchandise worth about $3,500.
The two defendants went straight from the Nassau County store to the Deer Park Home Depot on Commack Road in Suffolk County and filled a cart with recessed lighting, a Moen faucet fixture, ceiling medallion, a colored bulb and more worth about $2,500, again walking out without paying, according to the charges.
Police stopped the defendants at 130th Street and 23rd Avenue in Queens, where they discovered more than $6,000 in stolen Home Depot merchandise and $460 in counterfeit $20 bills in Marmolejo’s pocket.
After the arrest, Marmolejo allegedly told the police that the scheme was for him to stop near the cashier with the cart of building materials as Diaz spoke to a distracted employee at the self-checkout registers. Once he heard the word “salga,” the Spanish word for leave, he would walk out with the cart.
Both men will appear back in court on January 25.