MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Three New York men have been accused of swindling two Apple Stores in Minnesota out of $44,041.79, according to charges filed Monday.
The authorities have identified the suspects as Zouki Srugo, Eli Halabieh and 22-year-old Gozif Halabieh.
According to the complaint, all three suspects entered the Edina store, collectively spoke with a sales person and selected $20,974.79 worth of merchandise. After a Capitol One credit card was initially declined, Srugo made a telephone call, claiming he was contacting Capitol One to inquire why the card was declined. The Apple Store employee talked with the unknown person on the phone who provided the employee a fictitious authorization code, which completed the transaction.
After leaving, the suspects traveled to the Uptown Apple Store in south Minneapolis and successfully completed the same swindle – taking $23,067 worth of merchandise.
The three suspects were arrested after trying the same swindle at an Apple Store in Minnetonka.
Srugo, after waiving his Miranda Rights, admitted to the swindle and said all three of them came to Minnesota with a list of Apple Stores where they knew their scheme would work, the complaint said.
Srugo added that they tried the scheme at the Mall Of America Apple Store, but were not successful.
The other two suspects also admitted to involvement, the complaint said. All three are in custody.
All three men have been charged with one felony count of theft by swindle, which carries a potential maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and/or a $100,000 fine.