Best Buy reward missing? This postal worker might have used it


If you were a postal worker and saw thousands of Best Buy rewards certificates, you would be tempted to take a couple for yourself right? Let's be honest. Who hasn't told Netflix a particularly good movie was "lost in the mail" only to leave it sitting on their DVD shelf. Can't blame a post office worker for having a little fun with the mail too right? We're only kidding.

This Minneapolis postal worker might have taken his addiction to mail swiping a little too far. Federal investigators say a Minneapolis worker stole more than 16,000 Best Buy certificates sent to customers and used them to buy items in the store. He sometimes even resold the items to other post office employees. Smart one.

Douglas Parkes hasn't been charged with a crime yet, but documents filed in federal court last month allege he stole Reward Zone certificates from the mail and bought at least 1,800 items from Best Buy.

More from the Star Tribune:

According to the affidavit, Parkes used eight different member accounts -- none belonging to him -- to make purchases using a combination of Reward Zone certificates, credit cards and cash.

An Oct. 1, 2008, search of his home turned up 371 items, including electronics still in their original packaging. The search also found more than $4,200 in cash and grocery bags filled with approximately 3,000 Best Buy mailings, including empty envelopes, the affidavit said.

Of the 371 items, 213 had the same UPCs as items purchased using stolen Reward Zone certificates, investigators said.

Best Buy staff noticed Parkes repeatedly bought popular items, including seven 37-inch Toshiba LCD televisions, four 42-inch Toshiba Regaza LCD televisions, six 42-inch plasma televisions, 11 PlayStation 3s and 37 iPods, the affidavit said.

So how much could this man have really taken from Best Buy? The affidavit doesn't estimate the value of the certificates, but customers receive a $5 certificate for everyone $250 they spend. If every certificate Parkes allegedly stole was worth $5, the loss to Best Buy and its customers would be about $80,000, the Strib says.