A CREATIVE thief has been charged by federal authorities for allegedly swapping price stickers on expensive products at a major multi-city retailer.
The complaint states that Hoster’s theft cost The home depot Thousands of lost sales.
To avoid paying the full price, Hoster grabbed stickers with product codes that scanned between $1 and $37.50 and placed them over the codes for items priced between $89.98 and $1,229.
Between 2021 and 2022, he used his clever tag swapping tactic to purchase over 135 items.
The complaint also claimed that Hoster had resold it fan shop well below retail value.
His purchases included high-end vacuum cleaners, chainsaws, nail guns, leaf blowers, and other miscellaneous goods.
Federal investigators began investigating the case last August, and law enforcement deployed surveillance cameras to track Hoster’s illegal activities.
Multiple shots caught Hoster running out of the store without paying full price.
After pleading guilty, he was sentenced to three years in prison Jail additionally sentenced to three years probation and to pay $4,175 in damages.
Shortly after his release in March of that year, Hoster was back at the Home Depot, this time in Maine, again changing price tags.
Employees who had been made aware of his scheme confronted him, but he quickly dropped the products and left the store.
He was arrested and again held without bail, making his first appearance in court in Maine just last week.
If convicted, Hoster faces up to 20 years in prison and a larger fine of $250,000, in addition to paying damages to The Home Depot.