Eastman to eBay: Contractors allegedly smuggle $70K in materials to sell on Internet

Rain Smith • Dec 7, 2017 at 6:11 PM

KINGSPORT — A pair of contractors who were working inside Eastman have been arrested for systematically stealing $70,000 worth of industrial pipe fittings, according to police, and were traced thanks to their use of eBay in an attempt to sell the items.

Billy Addington, 42, of 5703 Orebank Road, Kingsport, and Paul Gibson, 37, 255 Oak St., Gate City, face felony charges. According to records at the Kingsport Police Department, Eastman security contacted detectives on Oct. 30.

As reported to police, in May Eastman received 624 heavy duty, industrial grade pipe fittings, valued at $66,349. A month later, Eastman received 600 additional fittings of a different style, valued at $10,398.

In early October, the parts were discovered to be missing from their assigned location on Eastman property. Records state that company security officials then conducted their own investigation and found such items — which have “no use in the public sector” — were for sale on eBay by a user based in Kingsport.

KPD detectives then took over the case. According to an affidavit filed in General Sessions Court, eBay was contacted and information about the seller’s account obtained, tabbing Addington as a suspect.

On Nov. 27, officers visited Eastman property to speak with Addington, an electrician and pipe welder with Jacobs Engineering. At that time, he was allegedly found to be in possession of one of the two styles of fittings that had been pilfered.

As stated by the reporting officer, the discovery made it “very obvious that Addington has access to these fittings on a daily basis.” Addington was then arrested and booked into the city jail.

Through further investigation, Kingsport police obtained a warrant for Addington’s alleged accomplice. Gibson, a mechanic with TEC Industrial Maintenance & Construction, was located on Eastman property on Wednesday and also arrested.

Both Addington and Gibson are charged with theft over $60,000. Exactly how they allegedly smuggled out the stolen items was not specified in police records.

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