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Herberg Pleads Guilty to Grand Larceny

Following his guilty plea, on Monday, in Fairfax County Circuit Court, a Fairfax man will be sentenced in April for a crime committed last fall at the Fair Lakes Target store. He is Craig James Herberg, 51, of 4614 Tapestry Drive in Fairfax.

In a Dec. 10 affidavit for a search warrant to seek evidence in Herberg's home, police Det. Bill Baitinger explained why Target contacted the authorities, in the first place. He said that, because of a large amount of recent thefts in the store's electronics area, asset-protection employees were monitoring that department with a surveillance camera.

According to the detective, in mid-October, Louis Durand, Target's asset-protection manager, began to notice a decline in the store's inventory of Vtech 2520 portable telephones. He then checked cash-register transactions regarding the sale of these phones and found some discrepancies.

He discovered that, on Oct. 13 and Oct. 19, 2002, someone had purchased these normally $179.99 phones for $59.99. He checked the surveillance-camera tapes in the electronics department for those dates and observed a man — later identified as Herberg — choosing two of the phones on each date and paying for them at one of the registers — at the lower price.

Baitinger noted that Herberg was also caught on the store's electronics department surveillance camera changing bar codes on Vtech 2520 portable telephones. Doing so, he wrote, enabled Herberg to purchase them from Target for the lesser amount.

Police executed the search warrant, Dec. 11, and seized items from Herberg's home including: Two Vtech 2520 boxes (empty), four Vtech 2520 telephone handsets, three Vtech 2520 telephone cradles, a bar code on a piece of paper, a $93 money order marked "two Vtech [e]xtra phones," two Vtech telephones/cradles still in boxes, a box containing bar codes and pictures of items, computers and associated hardware and software.

Herberg was arrested, that same day, and was charged with one count of altering a price tag and two counts of grand larceny. All but one count of grand larceny was later dropped. But that charge went to the grand jury and, last Monday, March 17, the grand jury indicted him.

This past Monday, Herberg pleaded guilty before Circuit Court Judge M. Langhorne Keith. After the judge made sure the Fairfax man fully understood his rights, as well as the ramifications of his guilty plea, he set Herberg's sentencing for April 25. He could receive as much as five years in prison.