US Airways Mechanic Sentenced for Theft

Times Online: A Center Township man will spend two years in federal prison and must repay nearly $600,000 to US Airways for stealing company equipment and reselling it on eBay.

Ronald Aikens, 53, of 220 University Drive, was sentenced Friday in U.S. District Court after pleading guilty March 8 to one count of interstate transportation of stolen goods. In addition to the prison time, U.S. District Judge Arthur J. Schwab ordered Aikens to serve three years of probation, pay the airline $585,941.08, and forfeit two desktop computers and a laptop.

On Nov. 13, 2009, police from Center Township, Allegheny and Beaver counties, and US Airways security raided Aikens' home and recovered a large hydraulic jack, wheels and pressure gauges, and two 6-foot-long torque wrenches. Other missing items included 43 headsets, airplane landing lights and seat belts. Prosecutors said Aikens took the equipment between 2004 and 2009 while he worked for US Airways.

Aikens, prosecutors said, took the headsets to Texas between March and May 2009. In a sentencing memorandum, prosecutors asked for a sentence of between 24 and 30 months citing Aikens' "ongoing scheme to brazenly steal airline equipment from his employer and sell it online."

Prosecutors said eBay records showed that Aikens sold parts through the website for three years and made about $358,000.

When confronted by investigators, Aikens said he committed the thefts because he had been demoted, according to prosecutors.

Defense attorney Steve Colafella of Center said Monday that his client worked for US Airways for 30 years as a mechanic and had no prior criminal record. Aikens, Colafella said, started stealing from the airline after his pay and retirement benefits were cut.


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