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We've all done it: lifted a pen here, a post-it pack there. It gets buried at the bottom of your bag, you forget about its existence, and that's that. But one man who took his penchant for pocketing office supplies to a whole new level has been convicted of stealing $376,000 worth of copy machine toner from his law firm.
But according to Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr., "theft is theft."
The Great Printer Pilferer is 39-year-old Adrian Rodriguez. Rodriguez pleaded guilty to second-degree grand larceny for his thefts from the law firm Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson LLP, CBS News reports.
Between 2010 and 2012, Rodriguez stole thousands of copy machine toner cartridges worth $80 to $200 and resold them on the black market for $10 to $15.
"It may surprise many New Yorkers to learn that there is a black market for office supplies," Vance Jr. said in a statement. In fact, Rodriguez was not the first person to pull off an insanely lucrative toner cartridge heist.
Like many other states, New York draws a line between petty larceny and grand larceny. Stealing anything is misdemeanor petty larceny (yes, even that box of paper clips you pocketed).
A petty larceny offense can be elevated to grand larceny, which is a felony, when the value of the property is more than $1,000. Rodriguez's offense was escalated all the way up to second degree grand larceny because the stolen toner cartridges were worth $376,000 in total, and because he participated in a growing black market for office supplies.
Grand larceny convictions carry serious penalties, including a prison sentence up to 25 years or a fine double the amount of the defendant's profits. In Rodriquez's case, that's going to add up to a pretty penny.
Vance went on to stress that "cases like this one, involving employee abuse, underscore the importance of reviewing company records in the effort to prevent employee theft," CBS News reports. If employers choose to heed Vance's warning, there are a number of precautions they can take against employee-related theft.
If you know what's good for you, you'll put the pen down.