Five people were arrested yesterday after New Haven police raided four businesses known to buy and sell stolen electronics.
The raid is part of “Operation Apple Harvest,” designed to recover stolen devices and link them to home invasion, burglary and robbery investigations. The raids turned up several thousand phones, other electronic devices and even beauty supplies, according to police.
Wireless Express, New Haven Furniture Plus, Elm City Wireless and Wireless Wizard were raided late yesterday morning after police found the stores to be in violation of secondhand dealer laws, authorities said.
Three Elm City Wireless employees and the store owner are facing charges. Nikam Rohit, 22, and Rohan Tapiyawala, 24, both of 25 Lee Street West Haven; and Dinesh Patel, 36, of Bayshore, N.Y. were charged with operating a secondhand dealership without a license, a felony. They’re also charged with conspiracy, police said.
Store owner Pramod Bhandare, 41, of Meriden, was charged with operating a secondhand dealership without a license. Bhandare was transferred to the custody of the U.S. Immigration Department after authorities learned he had failed to appear at an immigration hearing, according to police.
Boubacar Diallo, of 920 Quinnipiac Avenue, was arrested at New Haven Furniture Plus and charged with failure to license a secondhand dealership, police said.
According to police, stolen cellphones will sell for between $75 and $100 at a “disreputable dealer.”
Some of the stolen devices recovered in the raids have already been linked to recent crimes, police said.
Officer David Hartman said in a release Wednesday that police will continue to crack down on unlicensed secondhand dealers.
“It is our hope that these raids and arrests will serve as a strong message, that those who buy stolen goods will be held as accountable under the law as those who steal them,” Hartman said.