IRVINE – A demoted manager has been charged in the theft of 222 iPod Touch devices worth $45,000 from the Irvine Spectrum Center shop where he worked for years.
Edoardo Molina Hurtado, also known as Edoardo Carrillo Hurtado, has been charged with three felony counts: burglary, receiving stolen property and identity theft, Deputy District Attorney Nikki Chambers confirmed.
The items were taken from Fusion of Ideas, which makes and customizes cases, covers, shields and screen protectors for mobile devices such as iPods and Android phones. The store is directly across from the Apple store at the Spectrum. The stolen items were new devices being engraved or customized for a few big clients, the owner said.
The burglary happened sometime around 1 a.m. Jan. 2. Police say a key was used to gain entry to the store and that the stolen items included the digital video recorder from the store surveillance system.
An Irvine Spectrum Center security guard recognized Hurtado, 23, as one of three people taking boxes out of the Fusion of Ideas store, authorities said. The guard apparently did not realize it was a burglary at the time. The other two suspects have not yet been identified, Chambers said.
When police officers served a search warrant at Hurtado’s home in Aliso Viejo, they found $39,000 in cash – mostly $100 bills – in a closet strongbox, Chambers said. He was arrested Jan. 5 and charged with second-degree commercial burglary for the Jan. 2 incident.
During the search of his home, authorities also found an empty iPad tablet computer box. On the box was a store-generated sticker showing a serial number that Fusion of Ideas says was among a group of about 40 iPads worth $20,000 stolen from the store’s shipping office in November.
Hurtado was charged for having the empty iPad box, which is considered stolen property. He was not charged with stealing the iPads in November because there are no eyewitnesses or other evidence linking him to the actual theft, Chambers explained.
Russ Taylor, founder and president of Fusion of Ideas, said he was frustrated by the thefts and was shocked to learn that an employee for whom he had much trust could have committed the crimes. He said he paid to replace every stolen device.
Hurtado had been manager of the store for more than three years but was made an assistant manager after the business grew significantly and a new head manager was hired. Taylor said he reduced Hurtado’s pay from $15 an hour to $12 an hour in the position change but added that he was working with Hurtado to get his pay back up to $15 an hour.
The demotion occurred before the iPads theft happened in November.
Records show Hurtado is married, and he told his former boss that he has two young children. He faces a maximum of four years and four months in prison if convicted on all counts.
The identity theft charge alleges that Hurtado used the Social Security number of an unrelated person to gain employment at Fusion of Ideas. The Register is still looking into Hurtado’s possible motive for committing that alleged crime.
Taylor said Hurtado provided a Social Security card and California Driver’s License when he began employment. The IRS never notified the business that there may be a problem with the Social Security number, Taylor said.
Hurtado was released from Orange County Central Men’s Jail on Jan. 8 after posting $20,000 bail. He has pleaded not guilty to all three counts. His private defense attorney, Jose A. Hernandez, declined to comment at this time.
The defendant is scheduled for a pretrial hearing Feb. 10 at Harbor Justice Center in Newport Beach.