Seven Syracuse Corner Stores Raided for Willingness to Sell Purported Stolen Goods

Dec 13, 2013

Nine people associated with seven corner stores in Syracuse are now in trouble after Syracuse Police uncovered they’re willing to buy purported stolen goods.  The sting operation involved a six month investigation as informants were sent into stores with products such as baby formula, razor blades, energy drinks and electronics.  Store clerks would buy the items, even though they were told the items were stolen.  A raid was carried out Thursday.  Police Chief Frank Fowler refers here to ”undercover informants” that helped to build a case against the stores.

Synthetic drug called "spike" discovered at one store and two registered hand guns.
Synthetic drug called "spike" discovered at one store and two registered hand guns.
Credit Syracuse Police / John Smith/WAER News

   “Once they sold them the items, the informants would return back inside the store to find the items now on the shelves marked up for four times what they originally sold the items for.”

  In addition, Fowler says the stores had a history of buying and reselling stolen proceeds from North Side burglaries.  A coalition of retailers including Walgreens, Tops and Wegmans tipped-off investigators that “actual” stolen merchandise was being resold—unrelated to the sting operation.  Stores are staying informed of thefts through the Greater DeWitt Retail Coalition.

Syracuse Police Chief Frank Fowler speaks about the sting operation at corner stores and arrrests.
Syracuse Police Chief Frank Fowler speaks about the sting operation at corner stores and arrrests.
Credit John Smith/WAER News

 “A lot of these boosters will hit 3, 4, 5 stores in a day; going from chain to chain to chain.  We’re able to share that information.  So, were able to pick them up a lot quicker and turn them over to the local police departments.”  - Unidentified coalition member.

Mayor Stephanie Miner
Mayor Stephanie Miner
Credit John Smith/WAER News

 It’s part of a 34 Billion Dollar problem in the U-S according to local retailers and Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner makes a distinction.

 “This is not shop lifting.  This is an organized group of thieves who are reselling this product to supply their own, and often cases, illicit behavior.” 

 Some of the stores identified after Thursday’s raid are Daddy’s Place on Wolf Street, Johnny 5 Inc. on Park Street, Valero Gas on North Salina Street #1 Convenience Store on Butternut Street, AL’s Market on Hawley Ave, Upstate Market on Merriman Ave, and 1st North Market on Kirkpatrick St.  New York State Police and Special agents from the U-S Department of Homeland Security also assisted Syracuse Police.