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Bluewater's John Lewis stockroom worker jailed after stealing £45,000 of Apple AirPods, Windows and Samsung products


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A John Lewis stockroom worker who stole more than £45,000 worth of tech including laptops, phones and Apple AirPods has been jailed.

Lai Uong worked at the Bluewater branch in Greenhithe, near Dartford, for more than 17 years before an internal investigation was launched after stock continued to go missing.

Lai Uong was jailed after after admitting handling stolen goods. Picture: Kent Police
Lai Uong was jailed after after admitting handling stolen goods. Picture: Kent Police

As part of the probe, a test purchase was made for some Apple AirPods which were being sold on an online selling site, connected to Uong.

Officers carried out a search of the 47-year-old's property and found Apple products with a retail value of £33,799. The goods were later confirmed to be John Lewis stock.

They also found there had been sales of more than £24,000 of electrical goods on the online site.

Customers who purchased the goods requesting serial numbers for the products were also quizzed and they were all confirmed to be the department store's stock with a value of £11,799.

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

The products were confirmed to be John Lewis stock
The products were confirmed to be John Lewis stock

The court heard how between October 2017 and June 2018 products, from brands including Apple, Windows and Samsung, were going missing from the store’s stockroom.

The items included laptops, wearable tech and mobile phones.

Uong of Southfields, Gravesend, was jailed at Woolwich Crown Court on Monday after admitting handling stolen goods.

He was jailed for two years and eight months, was 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."

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