Police in Durham, North Carolina have arrested a Cree employee, charging him with stealing files from the company.
47-year-old Cree employee Coy Brevard Bell is accused of copying more than 32,000 files that police say date back more than 30 years. While police will not say what Bell was planning to do with the files, officers told a judge the files are “highly confidential”, contain all aspects of the Cree business models, and are potentially worth hundreds of millions of dollars. Investigators say they doubt Bell could have worked alone to profit from the information, but have not made any other arrests. They added that they believe Bell was conspiring with another business or country.
Bell posted a $150,000 bail, and was released from custody.
Surveillance video shows Bell at his desk on May 4, when he placed a microSD card into his computer. Investigators believe that is when he transferred the files to the card. Hours later, a Cree employee found the card on the ground next to a sidewalk, and turned it in to the company. In investigation found it belonged to Bell. MicroSD cards are forbidden on the Cree campus, and when Bell saw the surveillance video, admitted that he knew he was not allowed to have a microSD card with him while at work.
Earlier this year, Bell downloaded information on the LED manufacturing practices of Cree, but the warrant related to Bell’s arrest did not say if the microSD card had LED manufacturing information on it. Investigators said if another company has the information on Cree’s manufacturing process, it would only take days to set up a similar manufacturing process, instead of years.
Bell’s lawyer points out that Bell has been a Cree employee for a number of years, and describes the situation as a misunderstanding. Investigators are attempting to seize Bell’s cell phone records to see if he has been in contact with other companies or other countries about this situation. The warrant says the U.S. Secret Service and the FBI have been called in to investigation this case.
Tagged with Coy Bell, Cree