One suspect charged in purchase order scam

By Kenneth Russell

April 19, 2018

The Odessa Police Department has made one arrest in connection with a purchase order scam involving the theft of oilfield equipment, automotive parts and tires from several local businesses, with more arrests expected.

Kenneth Randall Russell, 32, was charged at about 5:30 p.m. Wednesday after a theft was reported earlier that day by Loving Electric Company, where Russell was employed, an OPD news release stated. Russell reportedly made two purchase orders from suppliers totaling more than $10,000.

The items consisted of copper wire and miscellaneous tools, the release detailed. Russell was later found and interviewed by detectives, where he admitted to appropriating the stolen property and selling it to pawn shops and metal scrap yards.

Police charged Russell with theft of property, a state jail felony.

Jail records show Russell was taken to the Ector County Detention Center Thursday. No bond was set as of Thursday morning.

OPD Spokesman Steve LeSueur said Russell is connected to a number of recent felony theft reports from local businesses involving current or former employees filling out purchase orders with fake names and fake account numbers.

The suspects are then selling or pawning the stolen property, the release stated, with one case involving about $30,000 worth of stolen tires.
LeSueur said more arrests are expected in the investigation.

OPD is encouraging local businesses to check identification cards and verify all information while completing purchase orders, and anyone with information regarding any of these recent cases is encouraged to contact OPD at 432-333-3641 or Odessa Crime Stoppers at 432-333-TIPS.