Palmer Man Duped in Computer Crime, Police Say
Allentown man is in Northampton County Prison facing charges of theft by deception and receiving stolen property.
A Palmer Township man had known local computer specialist Charlie Sandt Jr. for about eight years when he paid him about $428 to deliver a used router/firewall unit for his home system.
That was in late June 2012. About four months later and after a series of twists and turns, James Robinson was at township police headquarters filing a theft report against Sandt.
Sandt, 41, an Allentown resident whose business Computer Innovations was on Northwood Avenue in the township, never delivered the router, according to court records. And Sandt didn’t return the payment, Robinson told police.
All Sandt would give him was “excuses,” Robinson said.
Now, Sandt is in Northampton County Prison facing charges of theft by deception and receiving stolen property.
A criminal complaint filed by Sgt. Timothy G. Ruoff describes Robinson’s back-and-forth dealings with Sandt that led to him going to police for help. It also says Sandt apparently ignored Ruoff when the officer spoke to him about returning the money.
According to the complaint:
--Robinson went to police Nov. 5 and told Officer Susan Siegfried he paid Sandt $427.70 in June for a computer router he never received. He said he made attempts to have the router delivered or the payment returned. Siegfried tried to reach Sandt but was unsuccessful.
--Ruoff met with Robinson on Dec. 7. Robinson said he contacted Sandt in March about replacing his SonicWall router/firewall support. Robinson asked about getting a used or refurbished model and Sandt said he would check it out.
--Robinson didn’t hear from Sandt for several months, so he contacted him. Sandt said “his buddy” had a used SonicWall router for $325 (the total came to $327.70) and would sell it to whoever came up with the money first.
--On June 27, Sandt came to Robinson’s house and Robinson gave him a check for $327.70, payable to Sandt. The next day, however, Sandt called and said he “misquoted the cost” and needed another $100. Robinson agreed and Sandt came to his house that day to pick up the $100 check, payable to Sandt.
--Both checks were cashed and drawn on Robinson’s checking account. But the router wasn’t delivered. Robinson contacted Sandt. Robinson said Sandt gave him “excuses.” Robinson sent requests to Sandt to deliver the router or return the money.
--Robinson finally heard from Sandt, who told him he ordered a SonicWall router from PC Mall and that the router was defective when he received it. Sandt said “he was in dispute with a credit card company and it would take a long time to get the money back.” The complaint does not say what happened to the router of “his buddy.”
--Robinson then asked Sandt about buying a new SonicWall router. Sandt said he would need an additional $129 to buy it. Despite text messages from Sandt about when he could come over and pick up the money, Robinson never paid him any additional money.
--Robinson’s next move was to give Sandt notice to return his money in 30 days. It wasn’t returned. Once Ruoff got involved and contacted Sandt about returning the money, the same thing happened. No money.
The complaint against Sandt, of 136 S. 14th St. in Allentown, was approved Tuesday (Feb. 19). He was arraigned Thursday night by on-duty District Judge Robert Hawke of Lehigh Township and committed to county prison in lieu of $8,000 bail.