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Oceanside T.J. Maxx manager accused of stealing from own store

Rackets Division Bureau Chief Joseph DiBenedetto holds a

Rackets Division Bureau Chief Joseph DiBenedetto holds a pair of shoes with a partial TJ Maxx bar tag during a press conference announcing the indictment of Cornell Poyser in Brooklyn. Poyser, an assistant manager at TJ Maxx, stole items from TJ Maxx and resold them at his store in Brooklyn. (Aug. 14, 2013) Credit: Charles Eckert

An assistant manager of an Oceanside department store is accused of stealing handbags, perfume, luggage and other merchandise and reselling the goods out of an unmarked Brooklyn storefront, authorities said.

Cornell Poyser, 40, of Brooklyn, was indicted Wednesday on grand larceny and related charges and will be arraigned at a later date, the Brooklyn district attorney's office said.

Poyser was ordered held on $20,000 bond or $10,000 cash bail. He faces up to 15 years in prison if convicted on the top charge of second-degree grand larceny.

Brooklyn District Attorney Charles J. Hynes said at a news conference Wednesday that $130,000 in merchandise stolen from the T.J. Maxx store in Oceanside was recovered from Poyser's van and his storefront in East Flatbush. An undercover detective from his office had purchased a pair of sneakers with a $129.99 T.J. Maxx price tag for $50, Hynes said.

The scope of the theft has not been established. A company audit earlier this year showed that sales volume was far below the inventory being shipped to the store, prompting an internal investigation, Hynes said.

"Many people dream of starting their own business but almost all realize that this takes time, hard work and money for inventory," Hynes said. "But Cornell Poyser . . . didn't want to wait. He opened his own store in Brooklyn and stocked it with inventory by simply backing up his van to the T.J. Maxx after closing and removing what he wanted."

To illustrate the point, Hynes played a grainy security video showing a man alleged to be Poyser tossing merchandise from a loading dock into a minivan.

Hynes said Poyser was arrested Aug. 8 while driving to Brooklyn, the prosecutor said.

Detectives executed a search warrant at the Brooklyn storefront the next morning and found merchandise in the basement that still had T.J. Maxx security tags attached. They also found a device taken from the Oceanside store that's used to remove security tags, Hynes said.

Poyser did not have a state tax certificate for his storefront, "so it is unlikely he paid sales tax," Hynes added.

Poyser is represented by the Legal Aid Society, which does not comment on its cases.

Calls to T.J. Maxx seeking comment were not returned.

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