We have mentioned this previously in this space, but due to the retail section in Orange, our officers respond to quite a few shoplifting incidents. Often these thefts are perpetrated by those struggling with drug addiction, but they do not operate alone.
People who shoplift from stores often use another person as a 'fence', or a place where they sell their stolen goods. The 'fence' then resells the items to the public.
In the matter detailed below, the actions of two people acting as fences, and paying for others to act as shoplifters, caused retail stores in this area to lose millions of dollars worth of merchandise.
The following press release details the prosecution of one such person:
BRANFORD MAN SENTENCED TO PRISON FOR SELLING STOLEN GOODS ONLINE
John H. Durham, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, announced that WILLIAM REIDELL, 42, of Branford, was sentenced today by U.S. District Judge Michael P. Shea in Hartford to three months of imprisonment, followed by six months of home confinement and three years of supervised release, for his role in a large-scale fencing operation.
Judge Shea ordered REIDELL to perform 150 hours of community service while on supervised release.
According to the evidence presented during the trial of REIDELL and his co-defendant, George J. Connelly, Jr., Connelly and another co-defendant, Paul Muzyka, operated a licensed secondhand store, Ace Amusements, located at 42 Kimberly Avenue in New Haven. At Ace Amusements, Connelly and Muzyka knowingly purchased stolen property from “boosters,” who typically were shoplifters with opioid addictions.
The boosters stole the goods from retail stores such as Home Depot, Target, CVS, and Lowe’s, and sold the goods at Ace Amusements for approximately one-third of their retail prices. Connelly and Muzyka then resold the stolen goods at Ace Amusements, and also online at websites such as eBay. Connelly and Muzyka also sold property to resellers, including REIDELL, who then resold the property online using online websites.
The trial evidence showed at least $1.5 million in sales on eBay from 2007 to 2016 by individuals, including REIDELL, who purchased stolen items at Ace Amusements to resell online.
On May 23, 2018, REIDELL was found guilty of one count of conspiracy to commit the interstate transport of stolen property, and one count of interstate transport of stolen property. Connelly was found guilty of one count of conspiracy to commit the interstate transport of stolen property, and two counts of interstate transport of stolen property.
On March 16, 2018, Muzyka, of North Haven, pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit the interstate transport of stolen property and one count of interstate transport of stolen property.
REIDELL, who is released on a $100,000 bond, was ordered to report to prison on December 3, 2018.
On October 1, 2018, Connelly was sentenced to 78 months of imprisonment and was ordered to forfeit an interest of $86,220.85 in a house he owns on Tuttle Drive in New Haven, $10,338.68 that was seized from his and Ace Amusements’ bank accounts, and $13,078.67 in cash that was seized from his person and from various locations inside Ace Amusements on January 25, 2016.
Muzyka is scheduled to be sentenced on November 15.
This investigation was conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, with assistance from the Connecticut State Police, U.S. Marshals Service, U.S. Postal Inspection Service, Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigation Division, Connecticut Department of Correction, Connecticut Chief State’s Attorney’s Office, and the New Haven, North Haven, Milford, West Haven, Wallingford, Hamden and Orange Police Departments.