Kings County District Attorney Charles J. Hynes on Wednesday announced the indictment of Cornell Poyser, 40, an assistant manager of a TJ Maxx outlet in Oceanside, Long Island, who allegedly stole merchandise from the store after it was closed.
Investigators found that Poyser was renting a store in East Flatbush, where he unloaded, displayed and sold what he had stolen from the national chain-store. The Brooklyn store featured clothing, luggage, shoes perfume and other goods, all from TJ Maxx, according to the indictment. Even the knock-off store’s display racks were from the large retailer.
“Many people dream of starting their own business, but almost all realize that this takes time, hard work and money for inventory. But Cornell Poyser, an assistant manager at a TJ Maxx outlet located in Oceanside in Nassau County, didn’t want to wait. So he found a quicker way,” said Hynes.
Poyser’s alleged theft came to light earlier this year, when TJ Maxx conducted an audit that revealed the Oceanside store’s sales volume was far below the inventory being shipped to the store. TJ Maxx assigned their internal investigators to look into the matter.
Store security videos from May 2013 showed Poyser removing boxes and bags of merchandise from the back of the store, according to the D.A.’s Office. Over the next few weeks, the investigators conducted surveillance and reportedly observed Poyser taking more items out of the backdoor of the Oceanside TJ Maxx and placing them into a minivan.
Investigators said they followed Poyser as he allegedly drove his minivan to a store located at 5324 Church Ave. in East Flatbush and then unloaded the stolen merchandise. According to the indictment, the defendant had been renting the store for about one year.
Poyser reportedly sold the stolen goods at a large discount. According to the indictment, a pair of shoes with a TJ Maxx price sticker of $129.99 was sold in Poyser’s store for $50.
Detectives executed a search warrant at the store in East Flatbush on the morning of Aug. 9. During a search of the basement, investigators found items that had TJ Maxx security tags attached, which required a special device to remove. The device, which was missing from the Oceanside store, was found in the basement of the Brooklyn store.
It is estimated that the merchandise found in the minivan and in the Brooklyn store totaled $130,000, according to the D.A.’s Office.
In addition, a preliminary investigation revealed that no Certificate of Authority, which would alert the state of the store’s existence for the purpose of collecting sales tax, was filed with New York state.
Poyser is charged with grand larceny and criminal possession of stolen property and related crimes. If convicted, he faces up to 15 years in prison.