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LAWRENCE (WBZ) ― A New Balance worker in Lawrence admitted to police that he stole new sneakers that were meant to be donated to charity and then sent them to Puerto Rico to be sold for profit, Lawrence police officials said.

The mailroom worker, 37-year-old Antonio Reguero, is accused of stealing hundreds of pairs of new sneakers marked for charity over the course of one year. The shoes were supposed to be donated to various Boston-area shelters.

Police say Reguero would ship the sneakers to an accomplice in Puerto Rico who would then resell the shoes and send him back money orders in the mail from the sales. New Balance loss prevention workers turned surveillance video of Reguero being caught in the act over to police.

Officials said they estimate the number of stolen pairs of shoes is in the hundreds.

Police said they found a large amount of money in his bank account from the sale of the shoes.

Reguero confessed to police, saying he stole the sneakers because times were tough and he had a mortgage and kids to care for.

Reguero has been fired from New Balance. He said he plans to repay the company.

He is charged with two counts of larceny over $250 and was released on personal recognizance. He is due back in court on Sept. 10. He is also ordered to stay away from all New Balance stores.

In a statement released Thursday, a New Balance spokesperson said, "New Balance stands behind its mission of responsible leadership and believes associate integrity is critically important. We work hard to ensure that the products we donate go to those truly in need."
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