Crustacean caper: man arrested for alleged shellfish shipments scam | US news

A crab-hungry crook in Washington state has been arrested after allegedly posing as a grocery employee to orchestrate the theft of $700,000 in crustaceans from an unsuspecting seafood distributor.

Federal authorities pinched David Subil in late February after they accused him of pretending to work for Safeway grocery so he could pilfer pounds upon pounds of shellfish, according to the Seattle television news station KING.

Officials allege that Subil used false email accounts and made them seem as if they belonged to multiple Safeway staffers so that the San Francisco seafood distributor Arctic Foods would send two shipments of crab to North Star Cold Storage in Stanwood, Washington.

Subil allegedly planned two illicit pickups using a phoney name and a bogus trucking company. Authorities allege that rental documents tied Subil to the trucks he used to pull of the crustacean caper.

After the second shipment of saline spoils was collected, the Arctic Foods owner reached out to tell Subil he had been overcharged but couldn’t find him. The Arctic Foods owner then contacted Safeway, which revealed that Subil didn’t work for the grocery chain, the news outlet said.

“Both the distributor in San Francisco and the business here in Washington, Stanwood, discovered that they were being defrauded essentially,” said western Washington state’s US attorney, Nick Brown, according to KING. “They were getting orders for seafood. They would try to call to verify certain portions of the transaction, and none of the phone numbers were working.”

Subil had set up another pickup for 25 January, and law enforcement officers surveilled him. North Star employees loaded cheaper seafood – not king or snow crab – into the truck.

Police pulled the truck driver over near Tacoma, Washington, and arrested the driver on counts of forgery and possession of a fraudulent bill. They subsequently found that crab from Arctic Foods matching one of Subil’s alleged shipments was being sold below market value in Florida, the news outlet said.

Subil allegedly coordinated a fourth shipment of seafood from Arctic, and authorities placed position tracking devices on the packaging. The shellfish made its way to a junk removal service in Florida, with authorities suspecting that Subil had decided to unload the seafood when he realized it wasn’t king crab.

Investigators said that Subil then booked a one-way plane ticket to Colombia on 18 February. But he didn’t board the plane and was subsequently arrested in Miami, according to KING.

Contact information for Subil’s attorney was not immediately available.

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