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Warehouse Deals Were Too Good To Be True, Authorities Say

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Vijay Patel (left); Ajay Patel (credit: Chicago Police Department)

Vijay Patel (left); Ajay Patel (credit: Chicago Police Department)

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CHICAGO (CBS) — Customers thought they were getting incredible deals and huge markdowns at a Chicago area warehouse.

But now, it’s shut down, and the owners put behind bars, CBS 2’s Suzanne Le Mignot reports.

Customer after customer came to Advance Distributors in Albany Park, only to find the bargain store closed and a sign from the Department of Buildings on the front door, saying no one can enter.

Sources say the business — selling everything from back scratchers and aspirin, to pajamas and automotive parts — was the site of a major police bust Tuesday.

The Chicago Police Intelligence Division and the Cook County State’s Attorney’s office reportedly acted on a tip that an alleged fencing operation was taking place there. 

Brothers Ajay Patel of Glenview and Vijay Patel of Lincolnwood are charged with money laundering and felony theft, for allegedly selling stolen goods at their family store.  Sources say the 37-year-old brothers bought what they thought was a truckload of stolen goods from an undercover officer. The goods were valued at more than $100,000.

Resident Eric Lozano says he saw truck deliveries “non-stop, day in and day out.”

“In one day, he’d get five, six, seven — sometimes he used to have them lined up,” he said.

Vijay Patel’s wife declined to comment at the couple’s home. No one answered the door at Ajay Patel’s luxury home. 

Sources say police armed with search warrants found about $2.5 million in cash inside Ajay Patel’s home.  Around $2 million more was found in safety deposit boxes.

Some major retailers cooperated in the investigation. Meantime, the Department of Buildings worked with police following the raid and found a number of violations at the business, including merchandise stacked so high it blocked fire sprinklers

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