Steel of W.Va. says ex-employee stole $110,000 in steel

HUNTINGTON -– Steel of West Virginia claims a former employee allegedly stole at least $110,000 in steel over six months.

William Earl Lynd Jr. began his conspiracy in January 2008 when he would move steel to a waiting truck while his co-workers were on break, according to the complaint filed in U.S. District Court.

If Lynd could not escape from co-workers while they were on break, he would leave a key in SWVA equipment so others could move the stolen steel to the truck, the suit states.

The scheme usually happened while Lynd was working an 11 p.m. until 7 a.m. Saturday shift when fewer supervisors were at the plant, SWVA alleges.

While working the shift, Lynd would find the heaviest pieces of steel and mark those as the ones he would take, according to the complaint.

"Such property taken by Defendant Lynd or taken at Defendant Lynd's direction included multiple steel coils, floor plates, I beam sections, and industrial forklift sections," the suit states. "The property taken included either new material purchased by SWVA from other companies to be used in SWVA's manufacturing processes or products SWVA manufactured and produced for sale to its customers."

The truck that hauled the stolen steel would be waiting on 20th Street at the back of SWVA's property for Lynd or one of his fellow conspirators to bring the steel, the suit states.

Once the steel was loaded onto the truck, Lynd transported the steel to recycling centers around Huntington, SWVA alleges.

Proceeds were split between Lynd and people who helped him in the scheme, according to the complaint.

"The types and quantities of items stolen from SWVA and sold by Defendant Lynd, or at his direction, are consistent with the types and quantities of items missing from SWVA's inventory records for the time periods described in this complaint," the suit states.

Because of Lynd's scheme, SWVA incurred replacement costs of more than $110,000, plus administrative costs of $5,000 and investigative costs of $100,000, the company claims.

In the two-count suit, SWVA is seeking a judgment for replacement, administrative and investigative costs and unspecified punitive damages, plus pre-judgment interest and other relief the court deems just.

Thomas E. Scarr and Matthew L. Williams of Jenkins Fenstermaker in Huntington will be representing the company.

U.S. District Court case number: 3:09-0074

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