ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — A Rochester pawn shop owner pleaded guilty Wednesday in connection with a scheme in which he paid drug addicts to steal merchandise he could later resell.
Devin Tribunella owned the Royal Crown Pawn & Jewelry on Dewey Avenue. According to prosecutors, he and an employee, Wade Shadders, gave people known as “boosters” lists of items to steal from shops like Lowes, Home Depot, Target, and Walmart. They would then purchase the stolen goods from the boosters, and resell them as “New” or “New-In-Box” through eBay.
According to court documents, those boosters were often drug addicts. In a conversation with police, Tribunella told an officer the addicts would break into houses if they stopped selling stolen items to pawn shops. “They steal it,” Tribunella said, “…But then it becomes un-stolen to us because we actually purchased it…”
Prosecutors say between January 2017, and November 2019, Tribunella made $3,248,426 in eBay sales to buyers outside New York State this way. He pleaded guilty to transportation of stolen goods in interstate commerce, which carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
As part of his plea, Tribunella will forfeit over $200,000 cash, and will be required to pay a $1,600,000 money judgement. He will also forfeit four luxury vehicles.
Tribunella was ticketed in 2018 for crashing a yellow Lamborghini into a fire hydrant on East Avenue in Rochester, flooding the street, and fleeing the scene.
Tribunella and Shadders were two of five people arrested in 2019 for the pawn shop scheme. Shadders was previously convicted, but has yet to be sentenced. Tribunella is scheduled to be sentenced on April 19.
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