VIRGINIA BEACH — Police are looking for a person who fraudulently bought more than 1,000 pounds of rice and 500 pounds of lye and had it delivered to a Virginia Beach storage unit.
On an unknown date, a Virginia Beach firefighter’s card was used to purchase nearly $2,000 worth of rice from a Nebraska company named Pleasant Hill Grain. The man found out about the purchase after getting a call from a Kenton, Ohio police officer, according to documents filed in Virginia Beach Circuit Court.
The rice was delivered to a Fort Storage unit, located at 2744 Dam Neck Road.
The firefighter’s wife called Fort Storage to make sure the couple didn’t have a unit opened in their name. They were told they did not, but that the shipment of rice had arrived.
On March 2, Virginia Beach police received another complaint of identity fraud associated with the same storage unit the rice was shipped to, court documents state.
A worker at Chemworld, located at 2003 Salem Industrial Dr., told police that on Jan. 19 an online order was placed with the company for 500 pounds of sodium hydroxide beads.
Sodium hydroxide, also known as lye, is an ingredient used to make soap. It is caustic and irritating to human skin.
The order was placed fraudulently using bank information stolen from a U.S. Navy commander. The beads were delivered to the unit on Jan. 26, according to court documents.
A Virginia Beach police officer spoke to a manager at Fort Storage on March 3 who said she wasn’t surprised by the specific unit being investigated. The manager told police, “something is not right about that unit,” and that shipments come to it all the time in different people’s names, court documents state.
Police searched the unit on March 7. Inside were 300 gallons of sodium hydroxide beads and 880 pounds of rice. Some of the rice wasn’t delivered because there wasn’t enough room for it.
Mayfield can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.