A federal grand jury on Wednesday indicted two Kansas City, Kan., men in connection with the theft of sneakers with a retail value of nearly $1 million.
Darrell Lawson, 49, and James Peoples, 42, were charged with one count each of conspiring to possess stolen goods that crossed state lines.
They are accused of possessing a new line of Nike Air Jordan shoes just days after they were stolen in February 2003. The shoes weren't to hit retail shelves until the end of March 2003, coinciding with the NCAA basketball tournament.
The indictment said a trailer containing 5,500 pairs of sneakers was stolen on Feb. 25, 2003. A few days later, Lawson and Peoples allegedly had possession of the shoes. Even before the missing trailer was found in Kansas City's West Bottoms on March 10, 2003, Kansas City, Kan., police were seeing individuals on the street sporting the $180-a-pair shoes.
The shoes were white with royal blue soles and no laces. They were headed to Midwest retailers when they were stolen. The wholesale value of the load was $475,000.
Wyandotte County prosecutors charged Mark Henderson, 45, of Kansas City, Kan., in March 2003 with one count of felony theft in connection with the case. He allegedly purchased more than 30 pairs of shoes knowing that they had been stolen. He pleaded guilty to attempted theft, a felony; was sentenced to nine months in prison but was granted probation.
If Lawson and Peoples are convicted, each will face a maximum penalty of five years in federal prison and a fine of up to $250,000.
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