Portsmouth City employee arrested after undercover sting, accused of stealing & selling computer equipment

PORTSMOUTH, Va. - Police arrested a Department of Information Technology employee for the City of Portsmouth during an undercover sting on January 16.

32-year-old Michael Frederick is accused of taking computer equipment from inside the storage room and trying to sell it on the website OfferUp.

Court records indicate the equipment was WiFi access points which are used to connect to the internet.

The WiFi access points were posted on OfferUp for $100 each and detectives contacted the offender through the website and step up a time and day to purchase the access points, according to court records.

On January 16 Frederick allegedly met up with undercover officers on the 4500 block of George Washington Highway.

Records indicate six access points were sold for $200 in total and that the items are valued at $1,700.

Frederick was arrested for grand larceny, stolen property with intent to sell and obtaining money under false pretenses.

After the alleged sale, he was taken into custody.

Court records indicate the Chief of the IT department for the City of Portsmouth is now working with police about other missing items like surveillance cameras, Dell Computers, and other computer equipment.

However, Frederick is not facing charges for any of those missing items.

Officials say Frederick has been working for the city for two years until January 16, 2017 when he was fired.

They said his role was a City Intern working in the Department of Information Technology assisting with help desk support.

News 3 has asked them if any changes made to the way they operate as a result of the arrest. The City of Portsmouth answered as follows:

“Internal theft is a serious problem for many businesses to include localities. We consider property theft to include the unauthorized use of city services or facilities or the theft of any city property. Violators will be subjected to disciplinary action, up to and including possible discharge and prosecution.”

News 3 went to the home where police executed a search warrant.

A woman who answered the door said Frederick was not home and they had no comment about the incident.

Frederick has a hearing March 21 in Portsmouth General District Court.