GM employee accused of selling items stolen from plant - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

GM employee accused of selling items stolen from plant

Anthony Praino Anthony Praino
COLUMBIA, TN (WSMV) -

A former General Motors employee is headed to prison in a costly theft case. Investigators say he used his position to start an Internet business and sold stolen goods from the plant.

Anthony Praino told police that for nearly two years, he would go to work as a forklift operator at GM in Spring Hill and walk out a shoplifter, using stolen equipment to make a profit.

"He was a forklift driver, which gave him access to a lot of areas that maybe some other employees probably won't have," said Ray McCluggage with the Maury County Sheriff's Office.

There were no bulky auto parts, police said, but small high-tech electronics, totaling $770,000.

"They ran other pieces of machinery on the assembly line at General Motors. So they were kind of the brains to some of the machinery out there, the way I understand it," McCluggage said.

They think Praino may have taken the goods out in his lunchbox, then headed home to Columbia, TN, to post it all for sale on eBay.

"He had a basement there just stacked full of items, hundreds of items," McCluggage said.

Police say Praino was taking the items from his home and having them shipped all over the world to buyers in Thailand, Europe and Canada.

When GM investigators realized they had a substantial amount of missing equipment, they went on eBay themselves and started buying back their stolen goods.

"I was concerned that we might be sending technology overseas that doesn't need to be there and because it was going over state and international borders, we got ahold of the FBI," McCluggage said.

The IRS determined that Praino owes them about $48,000 because he never reported the income he had made from the stolen goods on his tax returns.

Channel 4 talked to one of Praino's family members, who said the family was stressed out over the situation and respectfully asked Channel 4 to leave.

Channel 4 asked to speak to Praino but was told he was unavailable at the time.

Praino is set to report to federal prison next month.

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