Police arrested a man on Friday after nearly a year of investigation.
According to police, officers raided the Happy Market, located at 128 E. 8th Ave.
The owner of the store, identified as Abdulamir Essa Aljanah was arrested and charged with engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity.
“He would tell the people what he wanted at the grocery store, they would go out and buy the stuff at the grocery store with their food stamp cards, bring it back to them and sell it to him,” Sgt. Richard Curry said.
Curry, who works undercover, said that he had been investigating the Happy Market for about a year. On Friday, officers carried out boxes of goods containing alcohol, purses and household items that they said were all stolen.
“These smaller stores don’t have the customer volume of the big-box stores, so they result to illegal activity to get it,” Curry said.
A key piece of the investigation, according to officers, was right across the street from the market – a community crime camera running 24 hours a day. Police said that they also worked with three area businesses and confidential informants to catch the business owner in the act.
“We were able to keep a close eye on what was going on in the store using the camera,” Curry said.
Police said that Aljanah obtained thousands of dollars worth of stolen items from more than a dozen stores.
“Once we got in there, we found a lot of clothing items that were from more stores than we originally thought,” Curry said.
Police also recovered more than 30 bottles of detergent along with a type of alcohol the owner was not licensed to sell.
Now, companies are working with police to identify their stolen property.
“What’s more important is the message it sends to the other small stores that are thinking about buying stolen property,” Curry said. “They will be investigated, they will be arrested and their properties will be searched.”
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