Naples moving company owner allegedly took $265K in client belongings; cites 'hard times'
The owner of a Naples moving company remains in Collier County Jail facing claims he stole more than $265,000 worth of goods he was storing for a client.
Christopher John Duffy, 41, of 4330 20th St. N.E., owner of Move 4 U Inc., is charged with grand theft more than $100,000 and dealing in stolen property. Duffy had his first appearance Thursday and was later released on $40,000 bond.
His arraignment is July 25.
An investigation by Collier County Sheriff's Office detectives led to Duffy's arrest Wednesday. He was arrested at the Collier County Jail where he was being held on cocaine possession and driving without a license charges.
In November 2020, Duffy was hired to pack up and move the contents of the owner’s residence in Bay Colony to a storage facility in East Naples so that the home could be staged for showing with more modern furnishings. A real estate agent contacted Duffy for the moving since the owner was out-of-state.
When the owner returned to Naples he requested Duffy meet him at the storage facility.
A Sheriff's Office report said Duffy kept putting off the meeting.
Duffy finally met with the owner at Public Storage on White Lake Boulevard in Naples in April 2021 and most of the belongings were missing.
The Sheriff's Office report said Duffy told the owner he had arrived at the storage locker an hour previous to find most of the items gone.
The owner then contacted CCSO and provided detectives with an itemized list of the missing merchandise, which totaled $265,711.
Duffy told investigators he didn't conduct the move and never saw the items placed into storage. He also said the company had fallen on hard times and blamed a company employee for the missing belongings.
Detectives found that Duffy sold some of the items to a stranger at the storage facility.
A Sheriff's Office report said Duffy told the man he was cleaning out the locker and offered items he had lined up in the hallway for sale. The man told detectives he purchased a seven-piece Brown Jordan table and chair set and an original abstract painting by artist Robert Natkin, along with a couch, chairs, and an ottoman, for $210 from Duffy, whom he’d never met before.
The man told detectives the Natkin painting, which Duffy sold him for $10, sold at auction for $9,250. He also sold the table and chair set to an auction house and the rest of the items on Facebook Marketplace.
Detectives recovered items belonging to the owner inside two other lockers at the East Naples storage facility. The lockers contained items from other clients, and the owner went through them and identified items that belonged to him.