Sting uncovers stolen Home Depot goods sold out of Daly City garage 

click to enlarge Fully stocked: A Home Depot agent investigating suspiciously inexpensive  merchandise advertised on Craigslist found a garage in Daly City stocked with stolen items, prosecutors say. (AP file photo) - FULLY STOCKED: A HOME DEPOT AGENT INVESTIGATING SUSPICIOUSLY INEXPENSIVE  MERCHANDISE ADVERTISED ON CRAIGSLIST FOUND A GARAGE IN DALY CITY STOCKED WITH STOLEN ITEMS, PROSECUTORS SAY. (AP FILE PHOTO)
  • Fully stocked: A Home Depot agent investigating suspiciously inexpensive merchandise advertised on Craigslist found a garage in Daly City stocked with stolen items, prosecutors say. (AP file photo)
  • Fully stocked: A Home Depot agent investigating suspiciously inexpensive merchandise advertised on Craigslist found a garage in Daly City stocked with stolen items, prosecutors say. (AP file photo)

This isn’t the type of pop-up store Home Depot likely has in mind.

Authorities are probing a large-scale theft ring after a recent police sting at a Daly City house uncovered heaps of merchandise stolen from Home Depot.

The big-box chain already had been investigating thefts from its stores, many in the Sacramento area. It found some items on Craigslist “at substantially reduced prices,” according to San Mateo County District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe.

An agent for the company contacted the seller about a Rheem-brand water heater that is sold exclusively at Home Depot. The agent arranged to meet at a home in Daly City on Oct. 13.

There, the agent stumbled upon a makeshift mini-Home Depot being run out of a garage. “Contractor types” were coming and going from the home, buying stolen items on the cheap, Wagstaffe said.

The sting also uncovered two more homes with garages stocked with mostly Home Depot goods, Wagstaffe said. In all, $100,000 worth of the retailer’s property was recovered.

One of the homes also housed a marijuana processing operation, with tens of thousands of dollars worth of pot packaged for sale, Wagstaffe said.

The alleged seller, 35-year-old Jimmy Mak, was arrested following the sting operation. On Tuesday, he pleaded not guilty to felony possession of stolen property and drugs.

Authorities believe Mak is just one part of a larger theft ring.

“We don’t know precisely where Jimmy Mak fits into the big picture,” Wagstaffe said.

Mak is out of custody after posting $80,000 bail. He is next scheduled to appear for a Superior Court review conference Jan. 5. A preliminary hearing is set for Jan. 24.

Prosecutors believe the operation flourished not only due to Craigslist, but word of mouth about the cheap prices.

“If you see something for sale that’s at an unbelievable price, there’s usually a reason for it,” Wagstaffe said.

Home Depot agents say they use tracking numbers to identify the company’s products. The items in the garages were still in their boxes, with the cargo sheets still attached, Wagstaffe said.

maldax@sfexaminer.com

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