Silpada files suit against former employees, jewelry store alleging they stole merchandise

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Lenexa-based Jewelry Company Silpada Designs, Inc., is suing three former employees and the owner of a local jewelry store for $300,000 over merchandise they say was stolen from the company.

Although the wording of the lawsuit mentions stolen goods, police are not involved, this is a civil matter.

The civil suit claims former employees took merchandise without permission and sold it to the owner of Gold Rush Exchange while the company was shutting down.

Boxes full of Silpada merchandise sits in the hallways of Gold Rush Exchange after a Jackson County Judge issued a temporary restraining order so that no more of the merchandise can be sold until the situation is sorted out.

Bill Reneau, owner of Gold Rush Exchange, says he saw the Silpada merchandise for sale on the website Offerup.com and bought it from the former Silpada employees for $20,000.

"And I even asked them, all this is on the up and up and none of it is stolen? And they said yes," Reneau said. "They even took the stand when we went for the preliminary injunction and said no, we had permission to take it and of course, that's when the battle started."

Attorney Sean Picket represents Edward Jones, Shaun Aelmore and Beau Foos, who each worked for Silpada for over a decade. Pickett says after Silpada sold to Richline Group in mid-October, a large amount of product not included in the sale was designated to be thrown away.

He says the warehouse manager, who is not named in the lawsuit, told employees they could take as much as they product as they wanted to, so they did. It totaled up to more than 23,000 pieces.

"The lawsuit is basically about who has right to the product," said Pickett. "The discrepancy really comes down to what were they allowed to do with it afterwards. So once they have this product are they allowed to sell it at some point? That's the issue."

Pickett says his clients have made Silpada an offer to return the products they still have, but they have received no response from the company.

Reneau says Silpada offered him $35,000 for the merchandise sold to him, but he rejected that offer, saying the merchandise is worth more than that.

"If they want it back they have to pay for it back but not for 35, but for what it's worth, cause they say it's worth 300. So if it's worth 300, then give me 300," said Reneau.

The attorney representing Silpada declined to participate in this story, saying he is going to wait until after the next hearing to comment on the lawsuit.

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