“Operation Cheap Smokes” leads Chicago and Mt. Prospect
Police to Offenders Selling Stolen Items Chicago Police and the Mt. Prospect Police Department, along with the assistance of the Orland Park Police Department and major retailers, wrapped a joint shoplifting investigation that ended yesterday with three offenders charged with purchasing over $100,000 worth of stolen name brand household items. The offenders then resold the stolen goods at three small Northwest Side stores as well as online.
Mahmoud Yassin, 60, of the 15400 block of Hollywood Dr. in Orland Park, Il. and his son, Yassin Yassin, 18, of the same address were each charged with two felony counts of theft. An associate of the men, Numa Shlain, 67, of the 200 block of Woodstone Circle in Buffalo Grove, Il. was charged with one felony count of theft.
Chicago Police Officers from the Asset Forfeiture Unit corroborated information from the Mount Prospect Police Department concerning a fencing operation. Officers from both Departments learned the owner of a Northwest Side store used his business, Discount Cigarettes in the 2900 block of N. Milwaukee Av., as a hub to buy several in demand
household products at discounted prices from shoplifters who lifted the items from local retailers.
Chicago Police Officers, assigned to the Asset Forfeiture Unit and Mt. Prospect Police, with the assistance of major retailers, orchestrated several undercover buys in which individuals posed as shoplifters. Officers recorded transactions while the offenders negotiated the purchase of items proposed as recently stolen merchandise. The operation allowed the shoplifters a continuous flow of cash in exchange for commodities that included coffee, cold medicine, cigarettes, soda, razor blades and teeth whitening strips. Yassin, his son, and Shlain would then resell the items at three local stores as well as an internet resale site.
Operation Cheap Smokes
Officers culminated their investigation early yesterday at the Milwaukee Av. location as well as two other Northwest Side stores: School Snack Grocery & Tobacco, located in the 3900 block of W. School St., and Euro Communication, in the 5300 block of W. Belmont, where they located numerous stolen products along with a total of more than 6,300 packs of cigarettes without proper tax stamps. More than 360 packs of the stolen cigarettes were hidden behind a false wall at School Snack Grocery & Tobacco.
Officers also executed search warrants yesterday at the two suburban homes of the offenders where officers learned several stolen items were transported, stored and organized for shipment after they were posted on the internet resale site.
The search warrants also led to the seizure of more than $100,000 in cash and five vehicles associated with profits from the illegal fencing operation.