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Toys R Us supervisor stole goods after "blackmail" threats

By South Wales Evening Post  |  Posted: May 22, 2014

Toys R us in Parc Tawe, Swansea.

Comments (7)

A SUPERVISOR at a city centre toy store stole £2,200-worth of computer games and consoles, saying he was being blackmailed.

Steven Rees, aged 38, was suspended from his job at Toys R Us in Parc Tawe after texting his boss to admit stealing from the shop.

He had been confronted after the store's assistant manager Phill Lloyd noticed items had gone missing from an area where only management or senior staff could go.

Mr Lloyd watched CCTV and saw Rees enter the area and believed he may have been responsible.

He then called the store's manager who came in to speak to Rees, but did not tell him he had been caught on CCTV.

Rees denied any knowledge of the theft, but that night sent a text message to his manager admitting it was him who had taken them.

He said he was being blackmailed to steal them.

Prosecutor Linda Baker told city magistrates the offence was a "breach of trust", but she said Rees had repaid £1,000 to the store.

Craig Harding, for Rees, said his client knew he could face a custodial sentence, but asked them to consider alternative sentences.

He said his client had worked for Toys R Us for 10 years and had an "unblemished" work record.

He said Rees, a dad-of-two from Lotwen Road in Capel Hendre, had been put under pressure to steal the items.

Mr Harding said the nature of the threats was not sufficient enough to raise a defence to the charge and his client pleaded guilty.

Mr Harding said it was not an excuse, but explained the "unwanted contact" was what had caused Rees to commit the offence.

"He had been pushed to the edge," said Mr Harding.

"Since this incident there's been a significant effect on him and his family," he said, telling magistrates that Rees is receiving medical help after a breakdown.

"He's sorry for the hurt caused to his family and he feels he has devastated their lives. He is sorry to Toys R Us, they placed their trust in him and for 10 years he repaid that trust but on two days in April he let them down very badly. He is very sorry."

Magistrates told Rees he had stolen high-value goods and that he had breached his position of trust with company.

He was given a 12-week prison sentence, but magistrates agreed to suspend it for 24 months. He was also told to complete 240 hours of unpaid work.

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  • Gwyddno  |  May 22 2014, 9:55PM

    GypsyLaw: In this case crime has not paid. The man has lost his job, got a criminal record, has his name etc., published in a newspaper, has to do 240 hours of unpaid community service and will face many problems getting new employment. If Toys r Us wanted more than the £1,000 they could have approached the court with details.

    |   7
  • loyalshopper  |  May 22 2014, 7:40PM

    Not knowing all the facts from this article im a loyal shopper at this store and all staff at all times have been polite helpfull and professional. This is a terrible blow for the store. When i had seen the article it crossed my mind for an employee thats had a 10year unblemished work record what has happened there is more to this blackmail than we know and has not been said in this article as this article states its been over a short period of time offences took place. I do agree that paying the full amount back should be a must. My husband and I are shocked with the news.

    |   11
  • GypsyLaw  |  May 22 2014, 4:19PM

    He stole £2,200 of stuff, he paid back £1,000 but wasn't even made to pay back the rest. And they say that crime doesn't pay.

    |   -13
  • GypsyLaw  |  May 22 2014, 4:16PM

    Whats with all the "thumbs down" for all the comments? Is this guy supposed to be given a pat on the back for stealing from his employers or something???????

    |   -8
  • GypsyLaw  |  May 22 2014, 1:28PM

    What has happened to the "Blackmailer"? If that was me at work caught red handed stealing goods I would of been sacked on the spot, yet he gets "suspended"! This guy wants to think himself lucky that he had a job in the first place, but with this on his record I doubt he will get another job quickly.

    |   -14
  • icarusty  |  May 22 2014, 12:33PM

    don't know why you were red arrowed, theparcel. If he was blackmailed he would have told the police - and unless it was by face to face, there would be digital proof. He has got away too - suspended sentence, only paid back £1000 for £2200 worth of goods. On the plus side, hopefully he gets the sack (it just says he was suspended!!!!), so there should be a job opening soon. I live nearby, have been unemployed for a while and would love to work there.

    |   -14
  • theparcel  |  May 22 2014, 10:52AM

    So he gets away with it! "A SUPERVISOR at a city centre toy store stole £2,200-worth of computer games and consoles, saying he was being blackmailed.2 What by his son! Toys R Us R Fools...............

    |   -16