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Harry Potter studio tour employee sentenced in $48K merch theft

Audrey Conklin

It wasn't just a vanishing spell.

Former "Harry Potter" studio tour employee Adam Hill stole $48,000 worth of merchandise from the site's stockroom, according to U.K. criminal prosecutors. Hill, 35 was sentenced to 14 months in prison and 250 hours of "unpaid work" for the crime, the Crown Prosecution Service said in a Friday statement.

Hill was nabbed after his coworkers noticed merchandise including wands, ties, badges and key rings appearing and disappearing from beneath his desk between December 2017 and March 2018, according to the statement.

DISNEY'S BIGGEST RIVAL KEEPS BETTING BIG ON HARRY POTTER

He "had the audacity to steal thousands of pounds of merchandise from Warner Bros. in plain sight of his work colleagues," Senior Crown Prosecutor Jan Muller said in a statement. "They reported him after growing suspicious of the items constantly piling up under his desk."

The Harry Potter films, based on author J.K. Rowling's popular books, have garnered some $9.2 billion in ticket sales, according to data from Forbes and Box Office Mojo, and demand for themed merchandise has been intense.

An investigation found that Hill first packaged and delivered the stolen items to buyers on eBay through his local post office but later started sending the goods through his work post office. He had sold 1,040 items of Harry Potter items on eBay by the time he was caught, authorities said.

"Subsequent scrutiny of Hill's eBay and PayPal accounts revealed orders and payments received for goods which were found packaged up ready to send to buyers, giving him no option but to admit to his crimes," Muller said.

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Police found 12 stolen items that were packaged and ready to be delivered in Hill's car and more items, including packaging materials, inside his home.

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