By ZEINAB NAJM
DEARBORN — After a more than two-year investigation, Jason Gibbs, 41, of Dearborn was charged with theft of goods from interstate shipments for stealing and selling nearly 2,000 key fobs from new vehicles while working at CSX Transportation.
The affidavit filed by U.S. Postal Inspector Mykeita Brown in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan July 6 details Gibbs actions that lead to the accusations.
While Gibbs worked at CSX, he stole key fobs associated with new cars manufactured by Ford Motor Co., Fiat Chrysler Automobiles and General Motors Corp.
The thefts took place when vehicles while, or shortly before or after they were loaded onto freight cars at CSX rail yard and distribution center in New Boston.
Gibbs was employed by a contractor of CSX/TDSI called Auto Warehousing Co. as a utility porter where his responsibilities included repairs of vehicles such as battery repair, flat tires, minor body repair and movement of vehicles within he facility, according to the affidavit.
In February 2018, CSX/TDSI received complaints from the three car companies about missing key fobs. New cars would arrive to the car dealerships with only one of the two expected key fobs.
Claims filed by customers and an internal audit revealed that all the vehicles missing key fobs originated at the New Boston facility, not having been transferred with any other railroad prior to destination, with all trains arriving sealed.
A manager from CSX/TDSI discovered someone selling key fobs on eBay similar to the ones that were reported missing, but the account was assigned to a different name of someone living in Trenton.
Ford Global Brand Protection Group and CSX agents held a conference call in March 2018 where both entities mentioned they had investigations regarding the name on the account.
According to the affidavit, Ford purchased three key fobs from the eBay account, before CSX involvement, which was mailed to them from the New Boston post office.
Ford was then able to connect the key fobs to three vehicles that were shipped through the New Boston facility with one key fob missing.
The return address of the package was to a vacant residence in Detroit where Gibbs and another person with the same last name were previous residents. Through Facebook, it was discovered that Gibbs and the name on the eBay account were friends who grew up in the same neighborhood.
A postal inspector was also able to determine that the debit card used to pay for the package parcel was in Gibbs’ name.
In May 2018, CSX agents and postal inspectors executed a search warrant at Gibbs’ house in Dearborn. Gibbs agreed to be interviewed as well.
He confirmed his address, occupation, social media account names and that he was friends with the person who’s name was listed on the eBay account. Gibbs said his eBay account was suspended approximately six years ago sue to a complaint of selling fake headphones so that is why he was using an account in a different name.
The person whose name is on the eBay account was aware Gibbs was using it. Records obtained from eBay relating to the account show that there were 43 sales from December 2017 to February 2018 and a total of 52 key fobs were sold totaling $3,965 in payments.
Gibbs sold 1,862 key fobs to a California buyer, who he had phone conversations with, totaling $56,605 to his PayPal account, the affidavit said.
In total, between the eBay and PayPal accounts, 1,914 key fobs were sold from December 2017 to May 2018 totaling $60,570.
All the key fobs were connected to vehicles that were shipped through the New Boston facility and loaded onto auto racks, which became a part of CSX freight trains.
Gibbs was employed as a utility worker by Auto Warehousing Co. in New Boston facility for four years with his last day being May 22, 2018.
(Zeinab Najm can be reached at [email protected])