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Man posed as Safeway grocery store clerk to steal more than $700,000 worth of crab


A Florida man has been arrested after allegedly impersonating a Safeway employee to steal more than $700,000 worth of crabs.

According to federal prosecutors, David Subil fraudulently ordered more than $728,000 worth of crabs from a wholesaler while pretending to be several employees at a Safeway grocery store in Stanwood, Washington, about 50 miles north of Seattle.

Subil is accused of using various fake email accounts and fake purchase orders to convince the San Francisco-based owner of Arctic Foods to ship two shipments of crab, one for $432,000 and one for $296,388.

The first shipment contained 600 boxes of king crab. The second shipment contained 600 boxes of king crab and 40 boxes of snow crab. As part of the scheme, Subil shipped the crab to a storage facility in Stanwood, where he picked it up in a rental truck from Ryder.

“This was not a one-time thing. This was an ongoing conspiracy involving multiple states and multiple jurisdictions and a lot of money,” said Robert Hammer, the special agent in charge of overseeing Homeland Security investigative operations in the Pacific Northwest.

The owner of Arctic Foods discovered the scam when he tried to contact Subil to tell him that he had overcharged for the second order. After he was unsuccessful, he contacted the store and found out that Subil didn’t work there.

Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office deputies tracked down a third shipment and arrested the driver, believed to be Subil’s accomplice, outside Tacoma on suspicion of forgery and possession of a fraudulent bill.

Investigators later learned that a Florida company was selling Arctic Foods crabs that matched the lot numbers from Subil’s first order. The owner of that business said he paid a Subil-registered business $144,750 for the shellfish.

Investigators exchanged the contents of a fourth shipment that they believe Subil dumped after discovering it contained no crab. He was arrested shortly thereafter in Miami after booking a one-way ticket to Colombia, likely “to flee the country from possible prosecution,” the charging documents say.

Subil is facing charges of conspiracy to commit interstate transportation of stolen property.

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