WWMT Newschannel 3 - Search Results
Kzoo party store owner accused of selling stolen goods
KALAMAZOO, Mich. (NEWSCHANNEL 3) - A Kalamazoo party store owner is in hot water, accused of re-selling stolen goods.
It's the culmination of a three week investigation the Kalamazoo County Sheriff's Department says was sparked when several people arrested for shoplifting told deputies what they were doing with the stolen items.
Howards Party Store off Portage Street and G & M Party Pantry on East Main were shut down in Kalamazoo for a couple of hours Tuesday as Kalamazoo County Sheriff's deputies executed search warrants involving organized retail fraud.
"An item would be stolen by an individual and it would be taken over to these stores. And the allegation is the owner and, or the employees were buying these items at a much reduced rate, turning these items around, putting it on the shelf and selling it on the shelf," said Kalamazoo County Undersheriff Paul Matyas.
Undersheriff Matyas tells Newschannel 3 the thieves had a wide range of targets, stealing alcohol and cigarettes from large chain stores to mom and pop shops.
"This is a very organized system. The owner of these two businesses was more than willing to accept and pay at a reduced rate for these items," said Undersheriff Matyas.
The party store employees Newschannel 3 talked to declined to go on camera, but say they were surprised by the allegations and had no idea this was going on.
Matyas says the penalty for this crime is five years in prison.
We went to the party store owner's house for comment. His family answered the door and was surprised by the allegations.
A family member later told us he has declined to comment on the investigation.
Meantime, Howard's and G & M are still open for business, but the Undersheriff says that won't last long.
The sheriff's office is moving forward with requesting multiple charges against the owner and employees.
They'll hand their case over to the prosecutor at the end of this week.