CHICAGO (CBS) — Chicago police busted the owner of a Northwest Side cell phone store on Thursday for allegedly buying and selling smart phones he believed to have been stolen.
With more than 14,000 cell phones stolen in Chicago last year, police have been targeting stores that re-sell them.
“Yesterday, the Vice Unit, the Asset Forfeiture Unit, and 15th District tactical officers concluded an undercover investigation into a large-scale fencing operation at the XL Wireless store located at 740 North Cicero,” said Organized Crime Bureau Chief Anthony Riccio.
The owner, Shaker Al Natur, allegedly bought smart phones from undercover officers – a total of $5,000 worth – for pennies on the dollar over a period of three months. Riccio said Natur was told the decoy smart phones were stolen in street robberies.
“By purchasing phones and other items known to be stolen, businesses such as this are complicit in the street crimes that victimize many Chicagoans,” he said.
The store was shut down and Al Natur has been charged with multiple felonies.