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Naughty crooks swiping electronics, filling boxes with sand or other filling materials, customers warn

Some people find that the packages that are supposed to contain electronics instead contain bags with sand or other material.

What’s worse than finding a lump of coal in your Christmas stocking? How about the find of a bag of sand in a box that ought to contain a electronic device?

Some Maryland residents who have expensive electronics on Christmas morning to find they had the boxes that were supposed to contain expensive items were now filled with sand or another filling material.

A Carroll County woman opened a shrink-wrapped box and found a bag of sand in which a Google Home Hub had to be.

“I didn’t even open it right away,” Teresa Gostomski told the Carroll County Times. “It was later in the evening, I asked my husband, ‘Can you get me a knife so I could slit open the plastic,” that’s what I did.”

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Gostomski daughters had bought the gift Dec. 15 at a Walmart in Ellicott City, approximately 12 miles west of Baltimore, and took it back Dec. 26.

Her daughters decided to order a replacement Home Hub directly from Google, instead of dealing with a retailer again, the report said.

Gostomski described the incident on a community Facebook page

“Okay, so, my daughters were very excited to give me this today and when I opened it,” she wrote. “This is what I found – just a bag of sand, no paperwork, no hub, no cables, nothing. It was shrink-wrapped and looked brand new and the sand was intended to replicate the weight of the hub.”

A commentator said that she believed that the problem is widespread.

“A friend of mine, who is the sheriff now of my hometown back in Kentucky, posted on his Facebook yesterday,” Sue Ann Bentley wrote. “He explained that the local Walmart and Kroger is that anyone who buys electronics module or console games, open them at the register, because they had so many returns.”

“They found in the bags of sand, salt and even rocks in packages, games gone or disabled with blank Cd’s … apparently it is everywhere,” she continued.

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Another person posted on the same Facebook page Dec. 17, saying, she opened what she thought was a shrink-wrapped Nest doorbell and found sand paper in the place.

“It looked brand new,” Janet Bischoff told the newspaper. “I went to buy at Walmart in Eldersburg. It was the Tuesday after Thanksgiving, so it was on sale, and they had only one left. It was in the closed cabinet. There was no reason for me to believe that it is not [in].”

They suspect that someone bought from the electronics and replaced it with the sandpaper or a store employee met.

“It is so professionally done,” said Bischoff, “and it worries me [as] who is doing it as well and Walmart writes down and it is a big problem, if you are that type of a criminal and thus work closely together in order to fool people like that.

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Walmart not immediately respond to a Fox News request for comment late Saturday evening.

A company spokesman told the Times that it was the first time that Walmart’s media relations department had heard of the electronics was replaced with sand products and that an investigation would follow.

“When a customer would walk in a matter like this, they are encouraged to go to the local store and they buy it out and take it to customer service at the counter.” Payton McCormick said.

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