A stockroom worker has been jailed after items worth more than £45,000 were stolen and later sold on an online selling site.

Lai Uong worked at John Lewis in Bluewater for more than 17 years before an internal investigation was launched after stock continued to go missing from the store.

Lai Uong desktop
Image of Lai Uong

The 47-year-old of Southfields, Gravesend, was jailed at Woolwich Crown Court on Monday 20 June 2022 after admitting handling stolen goods. He was jailed for two years and eight months.

The court heard how between October 2017 and June 2018 stock, from brands including Apple, Windows and Samsung, were going missing from the store’s stockroom. The items included laptops, wearable tech and mobile phones.

Test purchase

As part of an internal investigation, a test purchase was made for some Apple AirPods which were being sold on an online selling site, connected to Uong. The item was later confirmed to be John Lewis stock.

Search

Officers carried out a search of Uong’s property and inside the address they found Apple products with a retail value of £33,799. These were later confirmed to have been John Lewis stock.

As part of the investigation officers found there had been sales of more than £24,000 of electrical goods on the online selling site.

Further enquiries were made with the customers who purchased the items requesting serial numbers for the products they purchased. These items were all confirmed as John Lewis stock with a retail value of £11,799.

In total the retail value of the stolen stock was £45,598.

Uong was also ordered to pay £170 in costs and a Proceeds of Crime Application was launched.

Investigating officer Jacqueline Brown of the Bluewater Police Team said: ‘After a long and protracted investigation I am pleased with the outcome achieved from the courts, this demonstrates our willingness to get the best possible outcome for the victims and hold offenders to account for their actions.

‘His employer placed a lot of trust in him, and not only did he let his employer down but he also lost his job and will now serve time behind bars for handling the stolen items.’

Jacqueline Brown

By Ed

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