By Elise Franco
YOUNGSTOWN — Two men accused of defrauding local Giant Eagle stores of thousands of dollars are charged with several felonies.
Anton Pyateysky, 19, of Austintown, and Mureed Amireh, 26, of Youngstown, pleaded innocent Tuesday in Mahoning County Common Pleas Court to charges of theft by deception, criminal simulation and criminal tools.
Austintown Detective Dan Kosco said the two men had been reproducing bar codes from activated Giant Eagle gift cards and then distributing them.
They were using gift cards that had balances, “and then making duplicate bar codes,” he said. “They sold them for less than the face value of the gift card.”
Kosco said the bar codes were printed on heavy paper, much like the type used to make business cards.
“It was clear that they weren’t real gift cards,” he said.
The fake cards were used at self-check-out registers and Get-Go pumps at Giant Eagles all over the Mahoning Valley, all the way to Hermitage, Pa. Kosko said a total of $46,022 was stolen.
Kosco said the Austintown Police Department, along with the Mahoning Valley Criminal Task Force and Giant Eagle loss prevention, investigated the pair for eight months.
“I had an informant who called in a tip and told me what was going on,” he said.
Police said Pyateysky is a computer expert and owner of Anton’s Computer on State Street in Hermitage, which is how he was able to reproduce the bar codes.
Both men are free on bond and set for pretrial hearings at 1:30 p.m. Friday at Mahoning County Common Pleas Court.
A jury trial court date has been set for 10 a.m. May 11 in front of Judge Lou D’Apolito.