Alexandria, VA

An Alexandria man was arrested earlier this year after allegedly attempting to steal more than $40,000 worth of construction equipment from a construction company in the 3600 block of Wheeler Avenue.

The president of the company gave police three recordings in February from one of his former employees, Jose Melendez, who allegedly pretended to be an employee of his company by ordering 1o Rigid brand power tools from the supply company, which are valued at $3,300 apiece.

Melendez, 51, was extradited from Prince George’s County and arrested for identity fraud on Feb. 24, and he was released from Alexandria Jail on March 26. His court date has been pushed back a number of times due to the backlog in the court system. He is set to appear in the Alexandria courthouse on Aug. 18 for charges of identity theft to obtain more than $500 worth of goods.

Melendez admitted to police that he attempted to steal the equipment, and, in fact, stole a lot more equipment than that by using the false name. He told police that he would then pick up the equipment from various businesses throughout the region and then drop them off at a storage unit in the city.

Melendez told police that he and one of the storage unit owners would post the equipment on the OfferUp online marketplace.

The owners of the storage unit have not yet been charged, although a police search of the owner’s apartment in the 4700 block of Kenmore Avenue found that every room, with the exception of the bathroom, was filled with “construction equipment ranging in size from small cordless drills and drivers to generators and jackhammers,” according to a search warrant.

Staff photo by James Cullum

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