The trio, detectives said, had been pulling the scam at various Home Depot stores in Nassau County since last September. Investigators believe the men would steal merchandise from the store and then return the items to receive a debit or gift card.
They would then sell the gift cards to a local pawnshop for cash, cops said in announcing the bust. Authorities have tracked back 37 cards and say the men stole $28,800.
Police identified the men as Nicholas Scuro, 25, of Massapequa; Kurt Walther, 22, of Wantagh; and Husam Elghonami, 24, of Levittown. They were each charged with third-degree grand larceny.
Detectives said they were watching Tuesday night when they “observed the three defendants carry out the larceny,” according to a news release. Police also said the men were seen selling the gift cards and then using the cash to “buy a substance believed to be heroin.”
Scuro and Walther, police said, were each also charged with three counts of criminal possession of a controlled substance, while Elghonami was charged with two counts of criminal possession of a controlled substance.
All three men will be arraigned Friday at First District Court in Hempstead.