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Man Arrested For Switching Barcodes At Home-Improvement Stores

A San Diego man was behind bars today and facing a slate of felony charges for allegedly switching bar codes on copper wire and other costly merchandise at area home-improvement stores so he could buy it at lower cost and re-sell it at a large profit, authorities said.

Steve Allen Koski, 42, was being held in county jail on 11 burglary and grand-theft counts, according to California Attorney General Kamala Harris' office. His bail was set at $250,000.

Koski is accused of covering legitimate bar codes with counterfeit ones at San Diego-area Lowe's and Home Depot outlets, causing scanners at checkout registers to read falsely low prices, the attorney general reported.

Koski allegedly used the phony codes to fraudulently buy copper wire for $60 to $90, then re-sell it at recycling centers for $200 to $300.

Investigators believe the suspect made in excess of $180,000 through the scheme.

In February, the attorney general's eCrime Unit began investigating Koski after Lowe's officials reported their suspicions that he was manipulating price-reading technology at the company's stores throughout the San Diego area, according to Harris' office.

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