Police find hundreds of items they say were stolen and fenced as part of ring in Stone Park.November 13, 2009
By DAVID POLLARD firstname.lastname@example.org
Acting on a tip to locate stolen items at a local pawnshop, Melrose Park police coincidentally ran into the man who they would later arrest for running a national fencing ring.
The impromptu meeting resulted in uncovering hundreds of stolen goods, totaling more than $100,000, from several western suburbs as well as out of state.
Jose Silva, 50, of 1626 N. 43rd Ave., Stone Park, was arrested Nov. 10 and charged with possession of stolen property.
Silva's arrest came after Melrose Park police acted on a tip about an alleged fencing ring.
Police had arrested two men Nov. 8 in connection with a Nov. 2 car burglary. During the police interview, the suspects told about a location where stolen items often ended up after they were taken to a pawnshop.
Melrose Park Police Sgt. Anthony Greco said some of the stolen merchandise was pawned at the Melrose Park pawnshop and later the pawn tickets were sold to a Stone Park resident. The man would later claim the pawned items and resell them for more money through other outlets, such as flea markets.
Police visited the pawn shop on Nov. 10 looking for the stolen items and were surprised when Silva was there exchanging the pawn tickets he allegedly bought from the offenders to claim the stolen merchandise.
He was immediately arrested.
When police went to Silva's home, they saw several stolen items in his back yard.
Greco said they obtained a search warrant and found more stolen merchandise the next day in his home, garage and shed.
The stolen property included construction tools, computers, flat-screen televisions, computers, touring bicycles and automobile tires.
As police trace the stolen property, Greco said, they found some items originated in Oak Park, River Forest, Northlake and Springfield. Other stolen goods have origins as far away as Idaho and California, he said.
Greco did not know how long Silva had been operating his alleged fencing ring, but based on the amount of recovered items at Silva's house, Greco estimated it was two to three years.
Melrose Park Police Chief Sam Pitassi said the stolen merchandise is not part of a rash of burglaries in the village, but says the stolen items seem to be coming from all over the place. He doesn't believe Silva is part of organized crime.
"I don't think this guy is a part of any organized group he's just acting independently and working with local gang kids," he said.
Pitassi said the arrest and confiscating the stolen merchandise is the result of "good old-fashioned police work."
He said the arrest and seizure was a joint effort with Stone Park Police Department.