The theft of light bulbs and batteries does not bring to mind an FBI investigation, but one Massachusetts man is accused of stealing thousands of dollars’ worth of those items and has now found himself facing a federal charge.
Justin Farinato, 39, of Groveland, Mass., is facing a charge of transportation of stolen goods in a Massachusetts federal court after authorities say he made nearly $400,000 from stealing “smart” light bulbs, Nest thermostats and batteries from The Home Depot. He appeared in federal court Friday.
Farinato, according to an affidavit filed by FBI Special Agent Andrea Sciolino, has stolen the special light bulbs, thermostats and other items from various Home Depot locations in New England since 2014.
It appears he stole items from Lowe’s locations as well.
Despite being served twice with no-trespass orders, once in 2016 and a second time in 2018, Farinato continued to go to Home Depot stores, authorities said.
In August 2018, investigators from The Home Depot gave information to the FBI about a series of thefts from stores across New England involving Farinato, authorities said.
According to the federal affidavit, Home Depot investigators saw Farinato steal “smart” light bulbs from the Londonderry, New Hampshire location on July 25, 2018.
The Massachusetts man took boxes of “smart” light bulbs off a shelf, opened the boxes and placed the bulbs into his cargo pants, authorities said.
Authorities claim he stole several “smart” light bulbs valued at roughly $50 each and seven wireless lighting starter kits valued at $199 each. The total theft was roughly $2,150, the FBI agent said.
Home Depot investigators followed Farinato to a business in Salem, Massachusetts, which was not named in the affidavit. The Salem business sold items on eBay and paid Farinato, according to federal records.
Farinato is accused of stealing $300 worth of similar light bulbs from a Home Depot in Plaistow, New Hampshire on July 26, 2018.
In December 2018, Farinato was arrested by Natick police after authorities said he was again stealing light bulbs from a Home Depot.
Investigators from Home Depot told the FBI they had about 25 incidents where they say Farinato had stolen items or tried to steal items from Home Depot stores in New England in 2018.
The Salem company owner who bought the items from Farinato said Farinato claimed to have “acquired” the items from Lowe’s and Home Depot after the items were returned, according to the federal affidavit.
The company owner asked Farinato why the items were not in boxes, a question Farinato never answered, the FBI agent wrote.
Farinato was paid by check for the items, which were then placed on eBay for auction by the Salem company.
From December 2014 through August 2019, nearly $400,000 was paid to Farinato from the company. In 2018 alone, the company paid him $130,900, records show.
The Salem company sold roughly 5,790 light bulbs on eBay from March 2015 through August 2019, according to the FBI’s investigation.
Several of the light bulbs were shipped to people outside of Massachusetts.
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