Two Fairfax County Public Schools employees and a third man are accused in a scheme to steal as many as 35,000 school laptops worth more than an estimated $2 million, police said.
Mario Jones Jr., 21, of Woodbridge, and Franque Minor II, 35, of Waldorf, Maryland, were charged with embezzlement and larceny with the intent to distribute, county police said Tuesday. Both men were school district employees who worked in a warehouse in Springfield.
Fadi Atiyeh, 36, of Centreville, was charged with receiving stolen property and larceny with the intent to distribute. He works for a company called Attyah Computer Recycling, police said.
The investigation began after detectives were notified in March of “several thousand Fairfax County Public School laptops that were believed to be illegally reallocated,” police said in a statement. They were stored at a warehouse in the 6800 block of Industrial Road and were set to be auctioned.
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Detectives identified a box truck registered to Attyah Computer Recycling in Ashburn that arrived at the warehouse several times, police said. The driver refused to exit the vehicle or show paperwork required for receiving auctioned goods, the department said.
“Through the detectives’ investigation, two warehouse employees were identified as facilitating the unlawful transactions,” police said.
Detectives conducted surveillance of the warehouse on Thursday and saw the truck arrive. Detectives conducted a traffic stop and “found stolen laptops,” police said.
Police searched Attyah Computer Recycling and found additional evidence, the department said. Later Thursday, police arrested Jones and Minor.
Police believe the offenses date back to November 2020, more than a year-and-a-half ago. The investigation is ongoing.
Online court records did not list lawyers for Jones or Minor. Atiyeh’s lawyer was not immediately available. Fairfax County schools referred questions to police and did not respond to inquiries about how the alleged embezzlement was able to occur or what measures are in place to prevent theft.
Attyah Computer Recycling works to “help our clients dispose of and recycle their IT assets once the assets reach their life’s end,” the company’s website says. They did not immediately respond to an inquiry.
All three suspects were released on their own recognizance and are due in court in September, court records say.
Anyone with potentially relevant information is asked to contact police.