By The Raleigh Telegram
DURHAM – The Durham Police Department said that it recently arrested several business owners and operators in Durham for allegedly running a retail theft ring where stolen items were taken from local stores and then resold in area establishments at a discount. Other arrests were made for possession of stolen property and for selling drug paraphernalia.
According to the Durham Police, during the sting operation in April, a large amount of stolen items including weapons were seized from both businesses and private residences during the bust.
“Ten people have been charged with a total of 25 felony and 44 misdemeanor charges following a two-month undercover operation targeting organized retail theft,” said Kammie Michael of the Durham Police Department in a statement to the media. “The operation was launched after investigators received complaints that stolen goods were allegedly being sold at certain businesses.”
During the arrests, large quantities of allegedly stolen goods were taken in the raids, said the police. All total, police took 24 firearms including some stolen ones, drugs including 150 Hydrocodone pills, a Dodge Charger, more than $14,000 in cash, two illegal poker machines, over 100 cartons of cigarettes, cases of non-taxpaid or stolen alcohol, 37 bottles of Tide detergerent, counterfeit clothing, and drug paraphernalia.
According to the Durham Police, many of the stolen items were taken from area stores including Wal-Mart, CVS, Kroger, and Food Lion. Retail theft investigators from those companies helped with the investigation, said the police.
“This is the third large-scale operation in recent months by Durham police investigators targeting organized retail theft, which involves shoplifting and the sale of stolen goods,” said Kammie Michael of the Durham Police. ”In 2011, shoplifting accounted for approximately one-quarter of all larcenies reported in Durham.”
Police say the search warrants were served at Chandler’s Towing Service located at 1314 East Club Boulevard, The Spot 2 at 2534 South Roxboro Street, Goodfellas Urban Wear at 2534 South Roxboro Street, Southside Tobacco at 1103 South Roxboro Street, Two Brothers Convenience Store at 3310 Dearborn Drive, Tobacco Town II at 1000 North Miami Boulevard and an apartment at 219 South Alston Avenue, Apt. B-4. All of the locations are in Durham.
At Chandler’s Towing Service, Durham Police arrested the owner Felix Elmore Chandler III, age 44, and charged him with nine counts of felony receiving and possession of stolen property, felony organized retail theft, two counts of felony conspiracy, two counts of misdemeanor possession and receiving of stolen property, trafficking in Hydrocodone and possession of Hydrocodone with the intent to manufacture, sell or deliver. North Carolina Alcohol Law Enforcement agents also charged Chandler with possession of non-taxpaid alcohol for sale and possession of illegal poker machines.
Investigators also charged Daniel L. Chandler, age 38, with misdemeanor possession of stolen goods and misdemeanor receiving of stolen goods. Michael Chandler, age 64, was charged with misdemeanor conspiracy to receive stolen goods.
Officers seized 90 cartons of stolen cigarettes, one stolen PS3 Play Station, 22 firearms, the two illegal poker machines, 150 Hydrocodone pills and $8,500 in cash from Chandler’s Towing Service.
According to the Durham Police, North Carolina ALE and ABC agents served search warrants at The Spot 2, Goodfellas Urban Wear and Southside Tobacco, which are all owned by Mohamed Abdo, age 30.
Abdo was charged with possession of a stolen firearm, felony organized retail theft, six counts of misdemeanor possession and receiving stolen goods, misdemeanor conspiracy, sale of drug paraphernalia, felony possession of counterfeit goods and felony manufacturing of counterfeit materials.
Ramzy Mohamed, age 20, was charged possession of a stolen firearm, misdemeanor possession and receiving of stolen goods, sale of drug paraphernalia and felony possession of counterfeit items.
At the stores, the law enforcement officers took stolen cigarettes, one stolen firearm, drug paraphernalia, cash, counterfeit merchandise and a 2006 Dodge Charger.
According to Kammie Michael of the Durham Police Department, the drug paraphernalia items were glass tubes with roses in them.
“They are considered drug paraphernalia because they are often used to smoke crack cocaine,” said Michael in an email to the Telegram explaining their use.
ABC officers also served a search warrant at Tobacco Town 2 at 1000 North Miami Boulevard and seized several boxes of those types of glass tubes. Two people at that store were charged with two counts of sale of the glass tubes.
As part of the operation, police also served a search warrant at an apartment at 219 South Alston Avenue, Apt. B-4 in Durham and arrested Paula Cruz Martinez, age 42. She was charged with five counts of misdemeanor possession of stolen goods, five counts of misdemeanor receiving of stolen goods, one count of misdemeanor conspiracy, felony organized retail theft and possession of alcohol for sale without an ABC permit.
At the apartment, police say they seized 37 bottles of Tide detergent, 20 boxes of cigarettes, a large amount of stolen alcohol and more than $1,300 in cash.
An arrest was also made at the Two Brothers Convenience Store at 3310 Dearborn Drive in Durham. Police say that Shawki Salah, age 31, was charged with felony possession of stolen goods, felony receiving stolen goods, felony organized retail theft, two counts of misdemeanor receiving stolen goods, two counts of misdemeanor possession of stolen goods and sale of drug paraphernalia.
The police say they seized $2,700 in cash, several stolen items and a Glock pistol from the store.
Durham Police say that an additional warrant has been issued for an 11th suspect identified as Federico Sanchez-Reyes, age 47, who has outstanding warrants for four counts of misdemeanor possession of stolen goods, four counts of misdemeanor receiving of stolen goods, one count of misdemeanor conspiracy, felony organized retail theft and possession of alcohol for sale without an ABC permit. ::
Article Posted: Monday, May 7th, 2012