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Published: 6/17/2009

3 charged in theft of cookware at plant

BY JENNIFER FEEHAN
BLADE STAFF WRITER
Willingham Willingham
NOT BLADE PHOTO Enlarge
Boyd Boyd
NOT BLADE PHOTO Enlarge

Three former employees of the Calphalon factory in Perrysburg Township have been charged with taking gourmet cookware out the back door and selling it on eBay.

Perrysburg Township police arrested Christopher Boyd, 20, and Kevin Willingham, 33, Monday night at their homes in the Friendly Village Mobile Home Park on Oregon Road.

Joseph Edwards, 24, of Northwood turned himself in at the township police department just before noon yesterday.

Detective Sgt. Mark Hetrick said each was charged with felony theft for allegedly taking some $15,000 worth of gourmet cookware manufactured at the Perrysburg Township plant and selling it on the Internet auction site.

"Approximately $15,000 is what they made. It's not the actual value, but that's what they made on eBay, which was pure profit because it wasn't theirs to sell," he said.

Calphalon officials told police the cookware - some individual pieces, some boxed 10 and 12-piece sets - were sold online at below retail price.

Sergeant Hetrick said the company discovered the losses in January, called the employees in, questioned them, and ultimately terminated them. Investigators believe the thefts occurred between March 30, 2008, and Jan. 20 of this year.

Sergeant Hetrick said the three men were on the third shift at the Calphalon plant in the Ampoint Industrial Park.

"They'd set a box out by the door and pick it up after their shifts," he said, adding that the scam was a first at the plant as far as he knew. "It worked for a while."

Mr. Boyd and Mr. Willingham were arraigned in Perrysburg Municipal Court by video from the Wood County jail.

Judge Dwight Osterud set bond at $5,000 for Mr. Boyd and $5,500 for Mr. Willingham and scheduled a preliminary hearing in their cases for June 23.

Mr. Edwards, who appeared in court with his attorney, was released on his own recognizance. A preliminary hearing in his case was set for July 9.

Connie Bryant, a spokesman for Calphalon's parent company, Newell Rubbermaid Inc., in Atlanta, confirmed that the three men were employed at the plant and terminated but could not comment specifically about the case.

"The matter has been turned over to the Perrysburg Township Police Department," she said. "We are cooperating fully with their investigation, and as the matter is still pending, we are unable to provide further details at this time."

Contact Jennifer Feehan at:

jfeehan@theblade.com

or 419-724-6129.



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