Man charged in Cabela's tag-switching scam sentenced to one yearby Elizabeth Baier, Minnesota Public Radio,
Madeleine Baran, Minnesota Public Radio
St. Paul, Minn. — A Texas man charged with defrauding a Cabela's store of thousands of dollars worth of merchandise was sentenced today to one year in the Hennepin County Adult Correctional Facility.
The Hennepin County District Court also ruled that Michael Gura, 53, cannot be a registered Amazon.com or eBay.com user. If Gura commits another crime within the next three years, he will serve 34 months in prison.
Gura, of Fort Worth, was allegedly printing out fake UPC labels in his car, then taking them into the Cabela's in Rogers, Minn., and pasting them onto high-value merchandise, according to a complaint filed with the Hennepin County Attorney's office in June.
Authorities believe Gura took as much as $100,000 worth of merchandise from Cabela's stores around the country using a similar method, and then selling it on Amazon.com, Gunbroker.com and eBay.com.
He pleaded guilty on June 25 to four of nine felony counts, including possession of burglary or theft, theft by swindle, possession of burglary or theft, and receiving stolen property, according to the Hennepin County Attorney's office.
According to the complaint, on May 28, Gura asked a sales associate at the Cabela's in Rogers for a set of Leice Geovid brand binoculars, which retail for $2,395.
Because of the value of the binoculars, loss prevention officers started to follow Gura using closed circuit television monitors.
Officials believe Gura then entered the store's clothing department and switched the tickets on the binoculars. Once he got to the cash register, he proceeded to pay for the binoculars, which rang up for $109.99, the complaint said.
Gura made it to the parking lot, when officers with the Rogers Police Department arrested him and transported him to the Hennepin County jail.
Deputies there found four bar code stickers in his pocket, two of which matched the bar code sticker that was placed on the binoculars, the complaint said.
Investigators said that Gura had been in the store the previous day and bought an additional $4,065 worth of merchandise, but only paid $368 after swapping out the bar codes.
A search of Gura's car found 166 fraudulent bar codes, which authorities believe he made on a laptop computer in his car, according to the complaint.
Elizabeth Baier, based in Rochester, covers news in southeastern Minnesota for MPR News.