RACINE — The owner of a Racine convenience store where thieves allegedly sold gold jewelry obtained in an August burglary has been denied his application for a secondhand jewelry dealers license for the store.
Iyad Alabed applied to the Racine City Clerk’s office earlier this month for the license for one of this two convenience stores, Sunshine Supermarket, 1559 Taylor Ave.
Typically, applications for the licenses are handled administratively, but on Tuesday he was called before the Public Safety and Licensing Committee to discuss his application due to ordinance violations involving the purchase of secondhand jewelry.
Committee Chairman Greg Helding told Alabed that the reason that the application had come before the committee was because Alabed, who carries a secondhand jewelry dealers license for One Stop, 1711 North Main St., said on the application that he had not been convicted of any municipal ordinance violations in the past five years.
The fact was, Helding said, that Alabed had received at least three ordinance violations in the past two years.
According to Lt. Dave Wohlgemuth, Alabed received two tickets on May 29, 2011, one for failing to keep proper purchase records, and another for purchasing secondhand jewelry from a minor. He received another ticket for purchasing secondhand jewelry from a minor on March 29, and a ticket for no secondhand dealers license on April 30. It is not clear where the 2011 or March violations occurred, but the April violation was received after jewelry was purchased at Sunshine.
Alabed told the committee that he would have admitted to the tickets on the application — all of which were apparently paid for by check — but he thought the application was only asking whether he had been convicted of any felonies in the past five years.
“That was an honest mistake,” Alabed said.
He added that errors made by himself and one of his employees were to blame for the violations, and that he always works with police searching for stolen goods.
“Gold right now is selling for over $1,700 an ounce, which I realize you don’t pay and you probably don’t get paid, but that means a lot of room for money (to be made),” Helding said. “Lax standards when it comes to purchasing secondhand jewelry means that people who want to burglarize have an easy way to get rid of a high value item, which creates more of an incentive to burglarize.”
News of the application comes after a man who was recently arrested in connection with the August burglary of a Chatham Street home in which more than $22,000 worth of jewelry was stolen, allegedly told investigators that his partner sold the jewelry at Sunshine.
According to the criminal complaint, Eric D. Jones, 19, told police that after burglarizing the home together, Robert Camel, 23, sold the jewelry to the store, netting more than $600.
Just before the committee voted 3-0 to deny Alabed the application, Alabed said he planned to keep running his operations as he currently does.
“I do estimates at Sunshine,” he said. “I give $5 for gas reimbursement and send them off to One Stop to complete the transaction.”