STURTEVANT — Two former Andis employees and one of their relatives have pleaded guilty after allegedly stealing hair clippers and blades, selling and shipping them to barbershops in four states, totaling more than $545,000 in losses for the company.
Bettye Kidd and her niece, Tracie Edmonson, both of Racine, along with Kidd’s son, Franklin Allen, reportedly sent more than 1,400 packages to barbershops in Mississippi, Texas, Illinois and Georgia barbershops between September 2012 and January 2017.
Kidd and Allen reportedly solicited orders from the shops. At first, Allen would bring the stolen products directly to clients, according to a plea agreement filed Nov. 3 with the U.S. District Court for Eastern Wisconsin.
Later, Kidd began printing UPS labels at the Andis’ facility, 1800 Renaissance Boulevard in Sturtevant, and shipping the stolen products to the recipients — at Andis’ expense.
The stolen products were received by the shops, who paid Kidd, Allen or Edmonson in cash, cashier’s checks, money orders and MoneyGram transfers, the plea agreement states.
Kidd’s niece, Edmonson, became involved after one of Kidd’s customers could not reach her, the agreement states. The customer reached out to Edmonson, who worked in Andis’ receiving department.
When the customer asked Edmonson to send the stolen product, she reportedly did so and collected the money, the agreement states. Edmonson allegedly continued to take orders from that customer at least twice a month.
In October 2015, Kidd and Edmonson reportedly had a conversation about a change to Andis’ shipping process. This allegedly ended Edmonson’s involvement.
Between Sept. 13, 2012, and Oct. 6, 2015, UPS records show 173 packages were sent from Andis to one barbershop in Mississippi. The loss exceeded $63,000, the plea agreement states.
Edmonson reportedly did not know Kidd continued selling stolen products after October 2015.
The scheme unraveled in January after the company found a shipment to one of the shops Kidd and Allen were selling to waiting to be picked up by UPS.
After checking surveillance video, Kidd was allegedly seen preparing a shipping label for the package. When confronted, Kidd reportedly admitted to selling and shipping the stolen products.
FBI agents talked with some of the barber shop employees who received the stolen products. They said they had been doing business with Allen and Kidd since 2010. When the recipients asked Allen why the products were so cheap, Allen reportedly told them it was because he received an employee discount.
In addition to the manufacturing cost of the stolen products, which totaled $545,000, Andis also picked up the tab for Kidd’s shipment of the stolen products, which cost an additional $12,155.
Kidd, Allen and Edmonson were each charged with felony interstate transportation of stolen property. The charge carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000.