Multi-County Fraud Scam Involving Auto Parts Exposed in Sapulpa
Over the past several months, the suspect has returned thousands of dollars of merchandise to multiple stores, obtaining cash refunds in the process each time.
On Saturday, May 25 Sapulpa Police Captain Jamie Noe was dispatched to O’Reilly’s Auto Parts located on South Main Street. He was advised that a subject was present in the store attempting to fraudulently return merchandise. When Noe arrived at the store he observed a white male at the counter, trying to return an auto part. This man was subsequently identified as Lucas Beaston (the Defendant), a Tulsa resident.
Noe made contact with a store employee and learned that O’Reilly’s had recently initiated an internal investigation related to the Defendant. Over the past several months, he has returned thousands of dollars of merchandise to multiple stores, obtaining cash refunds in the process each time.
During the SPD investigation, Noe determined that the Defendant is employed at Cecil’s Discount Tire in Sand Springs. The Defendant frequently orders and picks up parts at O’Reilly’s, charging them to various vendors who have opened charge accounts there.
The Defendant formerly worked at O’Reilly’s Auto Parts, and as such, he is familiar with their computer system, as well as their practices, policies, and procedures. His employment at O’Reilly’s ended several years ago and their District Manager advised that subsequently they had conducted an internal investigation related to theft and embezzlement involving the Defendant. The Defendant later admitted the same, but minimized the extent to which he was involved. Those investigations did not result in a criminal conviction.
The Defendant admitted that he was attempting to return the part when Noe arrived at the store.
The Defendant possessed a receipt at the time of his attempted return, but the receipt was marked “Historical Reprint on 5/25/19” and referenced a purchase made in September of 2018.
The Defendant admitted that he printed the receipt himself earlier in the day at the Sand Springs O’Reilly’s.
During a search of the Defendant’s vehicle, numerous pages were recovered that indicated charges and returns of parts at O’Reilly’s over the last several months.
In addition to those papers, at least two pages indicated internal inventory transfers that took place at Cecil’s Discount Tire. These reports are likely related to the Defendant’s attempts to conceal the purchases to avoid or delay discovery of the fraudulent purchases.
A number of auto parts and tools, still new in the packaging, were also recovered from the Defendant’s vehicle. Some of those items were related to the receipts recovered from the vehicle.
The Defendant admitted that he had made poor choices and that he was unduly influenced by people he met at Avalon, a Tulsa metro-area corrections transitional facility. He admitted that this type of activity is widespread and that he has seen a number of people participating in it. He declined to provide names or further details.
The Defendant had apparently been engaged in these types of activities for a period spanning in excess of 6 months, but has only been discovered within the past week or so.
The victim (O’Reilly’s) is contacting various LE Agencies in the Tulsa Metro area to report aspects of these offenses that occurred in their jurisdictions. It is anticipated that those events may be tied together into a larger case related to losses in excess of $10,000.
In addition to O’Reilly’s, affected businesses include Cecil’s, Azteka Motors, Tins Tires, and Robert’s Garage and Service. Other business may be affected as well.
The Defendant was ultimately arrested for the intent to cheat and defraud by means of trick or deception.
This is likely to be an ongoing investigation.
About the Author
Born and raised in Sapulpa, Elizabeth has a Bachelor’s degree in American Studies and is a former banker. She is thrilled to be back in her hometown with her husband Michael and to be contributing to The Sapulpa Times.