Two Ghanaian men arrested in US for stealing computers

Two men of Ghanaian origin have been arrested in the US for an alleged plot to steal hundreds of computers, according to a local news site southtownstar.com.

The two, 25-year-old Gideon Owusu and Kwame Akoto-Bamfo, 26 both residents in Chicago were arrested and charged with felony theft last week as they went to pick up suspicious packages at a vacant house in Flossmoor.

According to the report FedEx investigators tipped police up that 25 Hewlett-Packard computers worth more than $30,000 were to be delivered to a vacant house identified as 1600 block of Lawrence Crescent in Flossmoor.

The police reportedly told the publication that the address had been flagged after 10 HP desktop computers, fraudulently billed to an upper Midwest state residence that police would not identify because the investigation is ongoing, were delivered to the same house October 5. Police arranged to have just three of the 25 computers to be delivered to the house November 9, the report said.

The two men were arrested when they arrived at the location to pick up the computers.

Owusu was cited in the report as telling the police that he met Akoto-Bamfo while the two were attending high school in Ghana. They paired up earlier this year when Owusu, who was living in New Jersey, visited Akoto-Bamfo at his Dolton residence, police said. In October, they both moved into an apartment in Calumet City.

Akoto-Bamfo, who worked at a Chicago-area realty company, told police he was working with others he knew from Ghana and Vietnam by supplying them with addresses of vacant homes, police said. Among the 17 addresses Akoto-Bamfo supplied were vacant houses in Flossmoor, Burbank, Harvey and Chicago Heights and on Chicago’s South Side.

He was told by accomplices which houses to visit to pick up shipments of computers, clothing and jewelry. Akoto-Bamfo said he went to the homes under the guise of doing work for the realty company.

Akoto-Bamfo told police the computers eventually were shipped to Ghana to be sold.

Police said there were 110 computers set up to be purchased fraudulently and sent in five separate shipments to the Flossmoor house and residences in Calumet City and on the South Side.

The two were released on bond and they will appear in the Markham courthouse on December 8, 2010 for preliminary hearing, the report said.

By Emmanuel K. Dogbevi

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