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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of Maryland

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, April 7, 2016

Maryland Men Indicted for Conspiracy to Transport Stolen Goods

Allegedly Stole Items from Stores and Kiosks in Shopping Malls and Sold the Items Online

Baltimore, Maryland – A federal grand jury indicted William Albert Engel, Jr., age 40, of Baltimore and Brian Nelson Halsey, age 42, of Westminster, Maryland, formerly of Dundalk, Maryland, on charges arising from a scheme to steal property from shopping mall kiosks and sell the stolen property online. The indictment was returned on March 29, 2016 and unsealed today upon the arrest of Halsey.

The indictment was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein; Special Agent in Charge Kevin Perkins of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Baltimore Field Office; and Colonel William M. Pallozzi, Superintendent of the Maryland State Police.

According to the two-count indictment, from October 7, 2014 through July 30, 2015, the defendants conspired to steal property, including designer sunglasses, with a retail value of more than $500,000, and sell the items online.  Specifically, the indictment alleges that Engel and others engaged in at least six thefts from shopping mall kiosks, stealing designer sunglasses and other items.  Engel provided the stolen property to Halsey and others, who sold the property through an online market, then used the U.S. Postal Service to ship the stolen property to the buyers. The indictment alleges that Halsey provided proceeds from the sale of the stolen property to Engel and also helped to finance Engel’s travel and travel expenses to other states to commit thefts in order to obtain more property for sale.

The indictment alleges that Engel broke into kiosks and stores in shopping malls in Capre Girardeau and St. Louis, Missouri; Myrtle Beach and Florence, South Carolina; and Hagerstown, Maryland, stealing a total of 1,276 pairs of designer sunglasses and 18 luxury watches.  Engel brought the stolen items back to Halsey in Maryland.  On August 28, 2015, Halsey possessed 790 pairs of stolen designer sunglasses at his home in Maryland.  Some of the sunglasses were traceable to thefts and burglaries allegedly committed by Engel in Missouri and South Carolina.

Engel and Halsey face a maximum sentence of five years in prison for the conspiracy and a maximum of 10 years in prison for transportation of stolen goods.  Halsey had an initial appearance today in U.S. District Court in Baltimore and was detained pending a detention hearing scheduled for Tuesday, April 12, 2016 at 1:30 p.m. before U.S. Magistrate Judge Beth P. Gesner. No court appearance has been scheduled for Engel, who is in custody on related state charges.

An indictment is not a finding of guilt.  An individual charged by indictment is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty at some later criminal proceedings. 

United States Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein commended FBI and Maryland State Police for their work in the investigation.  Mr. Rosenstein thanked Assistant U.S. Attorney Aaron S. J. Zelinsky, who is prosecuting the case.

Updated April 7, 2016