Metro Detroit pawn shop raids net men connected to massive retail fraud scheme

Criminal racket targeted major retailers

By Rod Meloni - Reporter, CFP ®, Amber Ainsworth

DEARBORN HEIGHTS, Mich. - Raids of Metro Detroit pawn shops on Thursday led to the arrest of multiple men connected to a massive retail fraud scheme.

READ MORE: Multiple police agencies confiscate merchandise during raids at Metro Detroit pawn shops

Stephen Robert Dodge, 31, of Dearborn; Spencer Robert Szostak, 30; of Allen Park; and Steven Todd Kilbourne-Bullion, 31, of Dearborn; were charged in connection with a criminal enterprise involving stolen goods.

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(From left) Stephen Robert Dodge, Spencer Robert Szostak and Steven Todd Kilbourne-Bullion (WDIV)

Police said the men would recruit people who were addicted to opioids to steal from major retailers, such as Home Depot and Target. The stolen items would then be brought to the U.S. Jewelry and Loan Pawn Shop in Dearborn Heights, where the owners would pay pennies on the dollar for the goods and sell the items.

After raiding the pawn shop, police went to a storage barn in Gaylord, where the men allegedly kept items they had purchased, including a speed boat valued at more than $100,000, an antique car, snowmobiles and ATVs.

As part of the investigation, police sent in undercover officers who posed as opioid addicts.

Dodge was charged with use of a computer to commit a crime, three counts of organized retail crime, two counts of secondhand dealer violations, two counts of receiving and concealing stolen property worth $200-$1,000 and receiving and concealing stolen property worth $1,000-$20,000.

Szostak was charged with continuing a criminal enterprise, two counts of use of a computer to commit a crime, six counts of organized retail crime, seven counts of secondhand dealer violations and four counts of receiving and concealing stolen property worth $1,000-$20,000.

Kilbourne-Bullion was charged with use of a computer to commit a crime, five counts of organized retail crime, five counts of secondhand dealer violations and three counts of receiving and concealing stolen property worth $1,000-$20,000.

The men entered not guilty pleas Friday and were given $10,000 bonds.

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Mournier Hassan and Bilal Taleb (WDIV)

Two men were also charged in connection with the same sweep for an operation that took place at Bank Pawn Shop in Westland.

Mournier Hassan, 41, of Dearborn Heights, is facing  20 charges, including conducting a criminal enterprise, using a computer to commit a crime and organized retail crime. His bond was set at $75,000, or 10 percent.

Bilal Taleb, 37, of Ontario, is facing 24 charges, including conducting a criminal enterprise, using a computer to commit a crime and organized retail crime. His bond was set at $100,000, or 10 percent.

Westland police said that property being held at the pawn shop was not confiscated and anyone who has property at the shop should contact it when it reopens. 

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