Las Vegas Sun

November 26, 2014

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Homeboy will hook you up online

Tom Elgas Jr. used to be in the business of selling stolen property.

Now, four convictions and 13 years in prison later, he's still in the business of selling significantly discounted merchandise. But this time he says he's legit. He's gone online.

There's eBay.com, Amazon.com, Overstock.com and thehomeboyhookup.com.

Guess which one was launched by Elgas.

"I always knew there was a legal way to get the public merchandise at better prices," Elgas, 44, said. "Stores overcharge in part because of their markup policies and in part to make up for the actions of people like me."

The name for Elgas' online store is derived from today's street slang - a "homeboy" is a close friend and a "hookup" is a great deal.

Elgas, who last got out of prison in February 2006, has worked a number of small jobs and currently is a night doorman at a Las Vegas bar. He wanted to become a self-made businessman, and hopes his investment - less than $1,000 to start his business - will get him there.

On his Web site, Elgas explains: "This all started ... in 1984 when I would drive around to various hotels in the Las Vegas area and sell these items from the trunk of my 1966 Dodge Polaris."

His Web site isn't the most user-friendly, but some of his deals may tempt buyers. He advertises "hot" deals which, at another time in his life, might have raised red flags.

Metro Police spokesman Officer Martin Wright said online consumers should always be wary but that he knows of no laws prohibiting an ex-thief from opening a retail business.

Starting the business is slow going. Elgas' site is all but invisible to Internet search engines.

But he thinks he's nailed down a business motto: "Our prices are so low you will think we stole it."

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