WASHINGTON (AP, ABC7) - MPD has arrested 16 people at 13 businesses that were selling stolen electronic devices in the District, according to a press release.
Monday night at a press conference, Mayor Vincent Gray and D.C. Police Chief Cathy Lanier displayed just a small portion of stolen stuff they seized in raids of businesses in the city.
Mayor Gray said that officers have redirected forces to neighborhoods where crimes have been occurring in response to increasing numbers of robberies and thefts of electronic devices.
Gray said business owners were encouraging residents to steal electronics and sell them to the stores, which in turn sold them to consumers.
“If you are a criminal and committing thefts or robberies, or if you profit from crime, in the District of Columbia, we will we find you, arrest you and bring you to justice,” said Mayor Gray. “The District of Columbia is a place of law and order, and neither Chief Lanier nor I will tolerate any crime on our streets. Every single D.C. resident has the right to walk our neighborhoods in safety and confidence.”
Lanier said most of those arrested have been charged with trafficking of stolen property, which carries a penalty of up to 10 years in jail and a fine of up to $10,000.
Hundreds of cell phones, seven iPads and other electronic devices have been recovered in the investigation.
“These numbers definitely show that we are working hard and holding people accountable for their crimes,” Chief Lanier said.
Police also seized a large amount of synthetic marijuana and drug paraphernalia.