PSU employee accused of $269,000 theft

For three years, PSU employee Daniel Korpenfelt allegedly stole about $269,000 worth of lab equipment from the university–often removing the machines from campus in broad daylight.

For three years, PSU employee Daniel Korpenfelt allegedly stole about $269,000 worth of lab equipment from the university–often removing the machines from campus in broad daylight.

The computer and electrical engineering lab technician is set to go to trial April 2 for allegedly selling technical equipment stolen from the Maseeh College of Engineering and Computer Science, where Korpenfelt worked for eight years.

Korpenfelt pled not guilty to 17 charges of theft and aggravated theft in the first degree Feb. 12, according to an Oregonian article last week. He was fired from PSU on Jan. 18.

The thefts allegedly took place from June 2005 until Korpenfelt’s arrest in December, said Detective Kevin Warren of the Multnomah County Central Precinct, who is leading the investigation.

Warren alleges that Korpenfelt began selling a small number of Tektronix machines, which measure electronic signals in devices such as computers or cell phones, on eBay. Soon after, Korpenfelt struck up an exclusive business relationship with Intercal, a Medford-based company that began purchasing the machines, Warren said.

Korpenfelt told Intercal that PSU was not using the equipment and that he was able to sell it himself, Warren said. It’s alleged that Korpenfelt made contact with the company whenever he acquired more machines from PSU.

Intercal employees would meet Korpenfelt on campus where the lab technician helped them load the 40-pound machines into their vehicle, Warren alleges.

“They didn’t have any real reason to believe he was shady, because of the way he was doing business,” Warren said. “He made it sound like it was pretty easy.”

After stolen equipment ended up in a California computer repair shop, Korpenfelt was arrested.

Dennis Shen of the Multnomah County District Attorney’s Office said that while a trial date for Korpenfelt’s case has been set, it could be pushed back. Shen would not comment on any details of the open investigation.

Korpenfelt liked to take vacations, Warren said, which is one of the reasons he was selling the machines–to supplement his PSU income. He had a flight to Jamaica booked for the day after he was arrested, Warren said.

“That’s one of the reasons he was doing it,” Warren said. “So he could take trips like that.”

At the time of his arrest, Warren said, Korpenfelt’s behavior was to-the-point and apologetic.

“He was straightforward to us. He wasn’t in any way deceptive as far as I could tell,” Warren said. “He said he wanted to try to pay it back to the university. He knew what he had done was wrong.”

Warren also said that Korpenfelt did not try to justify his actions even though he said he used the money from selling the equipment to supplement his university income.

“He didn’t come off with some sense of entitlement,” Warren said.

Officials from both the PSU Public Safety Office and the Maseeh College of Engineering and Computer Science would not comment on the case.

Korpenfelt’s bail is set at $220,000, and he is still in police custody, Warren said.

How he may have done it

Detective Kevin Warren’s testimony and police documents detail the alleged theft process:

– Korpenfelt sells a small number of PSU equipment on eBay. He attracts the attention of Intercal, a small Medford-based technology company.

– Korpenfelt begins correspondence with Intercal, explaining that from time to time he acquires the machines from PSU, which he claims does not use them.

– Korpenfelt contacts Intercal every few months to sell more machines.

– Korpenfelt uses money earned from selling the equipment for travel and to supplement his PSU income. The business deals are made in the open, making them look legitimate.