Update on Sept. bust of Conway criminal enterprise
CONWAY (KATV) — UPDATE (12/9/14):Conway police confirm to KATV the charges against Ibrahima Abdoulaye-Soumana have been dropped. Police say Mahamane Bazindre has accepted all responsibility for the thefts. ORIGINAL STORY (9/3/14):
Conway police shut down a criminal enterprise operating inside of a Conway home on Tuesday. More than $5,000 worth of merchandise has been returned to its owners.Ibrahima Abdoulaye-Soumana and Mahamane Bazindre were arrested and charged with theft by receiving.Detective Brian Williams of the Conway Police Department believes Tuesday's bust is just a piece of a global operation. "This particular residence was full of other appliances and some car engines that were on pallets and wrapped in plastic and still had shipping information on them as if they were just received," Williams said.Detectives found the two men's passports from Niger. The men have been renting the house on 1015 Knights Drive, where the appliances were found, for the past year.
Aaron's in Conway and Metro Appliances & More in North Little Rock both received calls ordering appliances to be shipped to the same house.Sarah Witkowski from Metro Appliances said the store had to absorb the cost when the credit cards were found to be stolen.
"We would have to write the merchandise off and eat the cost of the merchandise," Witkowski said. "We'll contact the manufacturer and we will give them the serial numbers that way they will not get work done to the appliances." Two Aaron's employees tipped off authorities after going to the home to drop off the refrigerator and seeing a garage full of appliances and car engines.
They immediately notified police. Conway police classified this as a reshipping scheme.Williams said, "What these individuals do is they recruit people in the United States to receive these shipments that are bought with stolen credit cards then relabel them, then they ship them out."
Detective Williams believes up to ten different people's credit cards have been compromised, along with businesses across the country. Williams said most businesses do not get the stolen items back.
"We have been hit so many times," Witkoski said. "It is surprising to get them back."
As of Wednesday there are still more appliances and products getting shipped to the house. "If we can intercept these shipments when they are on their way there, we can actually call the company that shipped it and find out when was this purchased, how was it purchased," Williams said.
The rest of the products bought with the stolen credit cards are being returned to their owners while authorities continue to investigate.