DENVER - It’s a crime that Joe Vinci says he never thought would happen.
Thieves gained entry into The Stone Collection warehouse and showroom on the 4200 block of Carson Street and made off with 100 slabs of high end granite.
“We were kind of blown away that someone could actually pull this off,” said Vinci, a sales and marketing representative at the east Denver business, which is one of the largest granite dealers in Colorado. “They came into our building, used our forklifts to load our trucks and stole our product.”
Court documents obtained by 7NEWS show that the granite was stolen sometime between 5 p.m. May 14 and 7 a.m. May 15.
Vinci says stealing granite is not easy.
“Each slab weighs about a thousand pounds,” he said. “It would take at least six men to move each one individually.”
Vinci says the thieves stole 73 slabs in one night. He says it was only after that theft was discovered that managers realized other slabs had been taken piecemeal over an estimated two month period.
He says that in an operation their size, they had previously chalked up occasional missing slabs to inventory errors.
He then explained how this discovery was made.
He says when work crews finish for the day, they park their trucks inside the warehouse with the next day’s load already onboard.
When crews showed up for work May 15, they noticed both trucks were parked outside, both were empty and one of them had some damage.
“Once we realized it probably wasn’t a gag or practical joke, we started to run inventory,” he said. “That’s when we realized some of the high end stuff was gone.”
Vinci says they called police, then set about doing some of their own detective work.
“We knew it would take a while for police to figure out, so we started with the shops that we knew were large enough and close enough to be able to make several runs in one night. We fanned out from our building and we found them within in an hour.”
Vinci says a Stone Collection employee walked in to AV Classic Granite at 8125 E. 39th Avenue,
“like they were making a regular sales call,” noticed the slabs with The Stone Collection’s name tags or numbers still on them, called his boss, and then called police.
He said the AV employee shut the doors and took off.
Court documents indicate that at least 87 pieces of granite belonging to The Stone Collection were found at AV Classic.
Those documents also state that the owner of AV Classic, Andrew Voytukhov, told police that his business partner, Vlad Grinchenko, had purchased the granite on Craigslist.
When police called Grinchenko, he confirmed that he purchased granite from a person on Craigslist for $25,000.
“I don’t see how that can be true,” Vinci told 7NEWS. “I find it unbelievable that someone would purchase over 100 slabs of material and pay cash with no record of it, when all the material had our stickers on it, identifying it as our material.”
When asked if the theft was caught on surveillance camera, Vinci said, “No. We didn’t have cameras, but we’re getting them now.”
Vinci says they considered whether the thieves had help from someone inside, since there was no evidence of forced entry, but quickly ruled that out.
“We had a team (recommended by investigators) come in and polygraph everyone and everyone passed,” he said. “We think it might have been a former employee who had a copy of a key to the place.”
Vinci says the stolen slabs are easily worth nearly $100,000.
When 7NEWS tried to contact Voytukhov and Grishenko, an employee at AV Classic said they weren’t there and he didn’t know when they would return. The employee said he’d heard about the thefts, but knew nothing about them or the alleged purchase on Craigslist.
Police aren’t commenting about the case, other than to say that it is still under investigation.
No arrests have been made.