Painter accused of stealing thousands from Chesapeake

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OKLAHOMA CITY -- A man hired to paint areas of Chesapeake Energy has been accused of stealing $6,535 of gift cards from the energy giant.

The suspect is 30-year-old Eder Ruben Rodas.

His employer, Statewide Painting, has been in business for 38 years.

"He disappeared on us and we didn't know what was going on," V.P. Phil Pipkin said.

He said Rodas was painting walls and door frames at Chesapeake.

"Very angry," Pipkin said. "The company does not put up with people stealing from anybody."

Police said, over a 10-day period in October, Chesapeake noticed several items stolen that they purchased to raise money for the United Way.

They did not say how Rodas allegedly stole the items.

"(The gift cards) continued to show up missing," Master Sgt. Gary Knight said. "This was a contractor doing work for them. For whatever reason, they suspected him of being the one who was stealing the property."

Knight said a Chesapeake security guard told them that prepaid American Express credit cards were tracked to show several purchases at several stores, including two businesses that had security video allegedly showing Rodas using them.

"He did give consent for investigators to search his apartment and they did turn up a large amount of the merchandise that was taken, so it was very clear that he was involved in this scheme," Knight said. 

Knight said the stolen items found included nine iPads, an iPod, three Nook e-Readers, a camera, gift cards, boots, shoes and blue jeans.

"He seemed like a nice guy," Pipkin said. "He told my manager that he was a Christian."

Chesapeake responded to an interview request saying "this is a matter for the criminal justice system to handle and it would be inappropriate for us to comment."

Rodas was arrested on charges of unauthorized use of credit cards and knowingly in possession of fictitious ID documents.

A police report said he had a permanent resident card, Mexican driver's license and social security card but admitted those were all fake.

Knight could not immediately say whether or not Rodas was in the country legally.