A Texas man has been charged in Minneapolis with defrauding a Cabela's store of thousands of dollars worth of merchandise in a sophisticated shoplifting operation.
Michael Gura, 53, of Fort Worth, was allegedly printing out fake UPC labels in his car, then taking them into the Cabela's in Rogers, Minn., and pasting them onto high-value merchandise, according to a complaint filed with the Hennepin County Attorney's office on Friday.
Authorities believe Gura took as much as $100,000 worth of merchandise from Cabela's stores around the country using a similar method, and then selling it on Amazon.com, Gunbroker.com and eBay.com.
"This guy had a real scam going on," Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman said. "Apparently he was doing this all over the U.S. We found all sorts of Cabela's paraphernalia in his car."
According to the complaint, on May 28, Gura asked a sales associate at the Cabela's in Rogers for a set of Leice Geovid brand binoculars, which retail for $2,395.
Because of the value of the binoculars, loss prevention officers started to follow Gura using closed circuit television monitors.
Officials believe Gura then entered the store's clothing department and switched the tickets on the binoculars. Once he got to the cash register, he proceeded to pay for the binoculars, which rang up for $109.99, the complaint said.
Gura made it to the parking lot, when officers with the Rogers Police Department arrested him and transported him to the Hennepin County jail.
Deputies there located four bar code stickers from his left cargo pocket, two of which matched the bar code sticker that was placed on the binoculars, the complaint said.
Investigators say that Gura had been in the store the previous day and bought an additional $4,065 worth of merchandise, but only paid $368 after swapping out the bar codes.
A search of Gura's car found 166 fraudulent bar codes, which authorities believe he made on a Hewlett Packard laptop computer in his car, according to the complaint.
Gura faces nine felony counts, including five counts of possession of burglary tools, two counts of theft by swindle, one count of receiving stolen property and one for fraudulent statements.
He is being held at the Hennepin County Jail on $250,000 bail. His next court date is set for 1:30 p.m. June 25.