Neatly boxed, but bogus, Sony laptop computers were being offered to Manteca shoppers at about 3:30 Sunday in the Food 4 Less shopping center parking lot – for only $100.
The advertisement on the front of the box showed a price tag of $1,899 – quite a savings for someone in the market for a new computer.
After Manteca Police received a cell phone complaint about the couple – a man and a woman – officers moved into the area. Patrolman Mike Espinosa found the duo parked in front of the Chilpote Restaurant on West Yosemite Avenue. They were parked near diners sitting at outside tables.
Detained for questioning and later arrested were Amanda Deluca, 19, of Antioch and Andre Woods, 20, of Pittsburg.
When officers opened several of the eight computer boxes they found only a book, a CD and transformer power cord with a Best Buy label on the transformer. The contents were carefully packed in bubble wrap along with a service contract for the equipment that was missing. The boxes were also sealed in shrink wrap, possibly discouraging buyers to look before buying.
Deluca and Woods were both charged with criminal conspiracy and attempted theft in selling a fraudulent product. Police had difficulty in finding a victim – the one they located refused to be involved.
The couple was taken back to the Manteca Police Department in handcuffs and later released on citations even though one of the charges was a felony. There continues to be a lack of space at the San Joaquin County Jail putting the suspects on their honor to report in person to the judge on their court date.