Jarvas Foster, the manager in question, allegedly stole 11 pairs of Nike and Jordan Brand sneakers before his arrest, according to the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department (CMPD). Police believe Foster had at least one accomplice, although no other suspects have been identified.
The charges came after an investigation from local Charlotte news affiliate WSOC-TV looked into complaints around LaserShip. Reporter Jason Stoogenke began the investigation in September after customers told him they ordered products that never showed up.
Most of the complaints involved missing Nike sneakers.
More than 40 customers complained to Stoogenke about LaserShip—28 of whom said they ordered special Nikes. Many told Stoogenke they ordered more expensive Nike sneakers and spent between $100 to $250 on their orders.
Although he was charged, Foster could represent just the tip of the iceberg. In the past 12 months alone, LaserShip was the subject of 1,902 complaints ranging from orders not delivered to delayed shipping issues, according to the Better Business Bureau.
Some shoppers said tracking details showed their shoes made it to the LaserShip warehouse but not to them.
Simion Hollins told Stoogenke he ordered four pairs of shoes through LaserShip and none showed up, though Nike refunded the roughly $800 he paid at about $200 per pair.
“That’s extremely frustrating, not getting [your items],” Hollins told WSOC-TV. “But what’s more frustrating is expecting not to get it. That’s a whole new different type of a frustration.”
Awareness of the issue goes back to 2020 at least. In December that year, a petition was started in the hope of getting Nike to stop shipping through LaserShip’s last-mile delivery service. The petition cited instances of packages that never arrived at their leasing office, despite LaserShip marking the product as “delivered.”
The two pairs of shoes in that case that were presumed stolen were a pair of Air Jordan 1 Retro High OG J Balvin sneakers, as well as a pair of Nike Dunk High “Varsity Maize” sneakers. According to Morris Jones, who started the petition, the sneakers’ combined estimated resale value exceeded $1,000.
“Why does Nike continue to do business with such a terrible and dishonest company?” Jones wrote in the petition. “Why should we all be affected negatively because Nike has chosen to go the cheaper route when it comes to shipping our shoes that we pay hundreds of dollars for? How is it that LaserShip employees can walk free after stealing what we paid for? Let’s put an end to this dishonesty of LaserShip!!!”
In March this year, Stoogenke asked LaserShip specifically about Nikes. At the time, the company said it took “allegations of theft very seriously. If reported, these allegations are investigated and handled on a case-by-case basis,” he said.
According to court documents, the CMPD said LaserShip launched its own internal investigation and concluded a worker was stealing. Police said the company has video from two different sources to confirm the theft.
Foster’s trial date has yet to be set.
Nike’s high athletic fashion status has made its sneakers a prime target for retail thieves. On June 4, two men stole 10 pairs of Nikes from a Memphis boutique. Memphis police charged one of the suspects, Jernell Bonds, with attempted first-degree murder.
That was just one incident in the string of Nike-related robberies in Memphis alone. In April, nine suspects stole Nike shoes from an unattended railroad boxcar near the footwear giant’s local distribution center nearby. Three men arrested in connection with the crime were charged with burglary, theft of property ranging from $60,000 to $250,000 and evading arrest.
And in December 2021, thieves stole from multiple Memphis-area Hibbett Sports and City Gear stores as well as a DHL warehouse. A warehouse employee behind the DHL theft stole up to $60,000 worth of Nike products.
In Los Angeles, a suspect was arrested on suspicion of partaking in a robbery at a Nike store in April, as well as other “smash-and-grab” style retail thefts in the two months prior to his arrest. At the time of his arrest on April 13, suspect Julian Gutierrez had several thousand dollars’ worth of new clothing in his vehicle. Losses from the Nike store amounted to approximately $150,000.
Detectives believed Gutierrez committed his crimes as part of a larger crew of thieves and used juveniles to assist in committing the robberies. At least one male juvenile was taken into custody related to the Nike Store thefts and was suspected in many others.