Cell phones, energy drinks seized in raid on Everett tobacco shop

EVERETT — Police here think they’ve pulled the plug on a north Everett business that allegedly has been trafficking in stolen electronics and other merchandise.

The raid Tuesday at the Tobacco Hut, 1917 Broadway, uncovered more than 200 suspected stolen electronic gadgets, including cell phones and GPS units. Detectives also found a cache of “several hundred cases” of Red Bull and other energy drinks, Everett police Sgt. Robert Goetz said.

Police are investigating whether the energy drinks were stolen. They’ve had reports of numerous Red Bull thefts at area stores, and in at least one case, a suspect told police she took energy drinks pilfered from a local grocery store and sold them to the davidoff cigarette.

Everett police seized more than 200 cell phones, several GPS units, a laptop computer and several hundred cases of energy drinks during a search of the Tobacco Hut on Broadway in Everett on Tuesday.

Everett police seized more than 200 cell phones, several GPS units, a laptop computer and several hundred cases of energy drinks during a search of the Tobacco Hut on Broadway in Everett on Tuesday.

“There are indications that there was a considerable amount of stolen property being trafficked through that business,” Goetz said.

The Tobacco Hut’s owner, a Bothell man, 46, was jailed for investigation of second-degree possession of stolen property. A judge on Tuesday afternoon approved his release following a bail hearing. No charges have been filed.

Detectives with a search warrant greeted the man Tuesday morning when he arrived for work.

As far back as 2009, police have been following leads that the business reportedly has been dealing in stolen property. That year detectives were tracing a camera snagged in a burglary at an Everett marine equipment store. The tobacco store owner had purchased the camera after it was stolen, according to a police probable cause statement filed in Everett District Court.

There have been other investigations, including a report from a woman who received a BlackBerry Curve phone as a Christmas present from her son. He’d purchased the phone at the tobacco store, according to court papers. Police later determined it had been stolen in a Nov. 18 burglary in Everett.

The woman realized the phone was stolen when she was clearing phone numbers and accidentally called the phone’s rightful owner. That man then called police, documents said.

John Martinis has operated John’s Sporting Goods on the same block along Broadway for more than 35 years. He said he was not surprised by Tuesday’s raid.

“The kind of traffic there seemed out of proportion to the size of the business,” Martinis said. “There is really strong traffic going in and out of there.”

It also seemed odd to Martinis how many people would wait for the business to open when there was another tobacco shop nearby.

“People in a tizzy would be waiting for this place to open up,” he said.

Detectives expect to spend several weeks processing the phones and other items seized Tuesday. Police will contact the owners of any suspected stolen phones and other items, Goetz said. They don’t want to be deluged with calls from people who think their missing items might be part of the haul.

source: heraldnet.com

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