A pawn shop employee admitted Tuesday to purchasing stolen items from drug-addicted people and then reselling the items for a fraction of their retail values.
Wade Shadders, 23, pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to transport stolen goods in interstate commerce Wednesday before US District Judge Charles J. Siragusa in Rochester.
Shadders faces up to five years in federal prison and will be sentenced at 9:15 AM on March 22, 2021.
Prosecutors said Shadders worked alongside store owner Devin Tribunella, 36, to recruit those battling drug addiction for a retail theft scheme. They allegedly resold $3.2 million in stolen merchandise on eBay between January 1, 2017, and September 16, 2019.
Tribunella’s business, Crown Pawn & Jewelry at 3635 Dewey Ave. in Greece, was raided by law enforcement officials in November 2019. That same day, authorities also targeted Rochester Pawn & Gold, 1440 Dewey Ave. in Rochester.
Three people were arrested after that raid and accused of reselling $12.4 million in stolen goods on eBay and Amazon between January 1, 2015, and August 14, 2019.
The cases against Tribunella and those associated with the Dewey Ave. business are still pending. US Attorney James P. Kennedy Jr. said previously these instances show “an undeniable link between property crimes and overdose deaths in our community.”
Shadders said he worked for Tribunella for 13 months prior to arrest. He earned $12 per hour and worked 60 hours per week. Shadders told Siragusa he didn’t profit from the scheme. All of the proceeds went directly to Tribunella, Shadders said. He said he was making “decent money” and admitted he knew what he was doing was wrong.
“Mr. Tribunella said I would never get in trouble, because I was a worker,” Shadders said during his hearing. Siragusa said Shadders was a “minor participant” in the scheme.
The defendants “specifically recruit boosters who are opioid addicts and who use the proceeds of their ‘sales’ to purchase illegal drugs,” IRS special agent Giulio Scoccia wrote in each criminal complaint. “This easy access to cash has increased the demand for and use of opioids in the community, thereby fueling the current opioid crisis…” Democrat & Chronicle