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Police claim Charlotte man linked to theft ring

Police have arrested a Charlotte man and issued arrest warrants for two others in connection with a so-called theft ring in North Carolina. Authorities claim that the men stole a number of goods from area businesses and then attempted to sell the stolen property online through Craigslist. The total value of the items involved in the alleged theft crime amount to more than $1 million.

Reportedly, police began investigating a series of thefts from several businesses in the Charlotte area after authorities noticed some commonalities between them. Whether these commonalities actually link the thefts to the defendants remains to be seen.

According to police, the accused parties would first disable a security alarm, enter the premises after business hours and remove a variety of merchandise.

The police eventually investigated a warehouse where they say much of the missing merchandise was found. Officers also discovered what they say was a marijuana growing operation, but the size of that operation wasn't disclosed in a local news report.

The Charlotte man who is now in police custody faces four counts of possession of stolen property and is currently being held on an $85,000 bond in the Mecklenburg jail. Since officials have claimed that he could be in the country illegally, an immigration hold has also been placed on him.

It was unclear in a local news report as to how authorities came to the conclusion that this man was involved in a theft ring. Some important questions still must be answered before a prosecutor can achieve a conviction. For example, was the defendant merely in possession of stolen property and not responsible for the thefts themselves? And if so, was he aware that the property was stolen? In addition, it will be important to closely analyze whether or not the criminal investigation and arrest were properly conducted. Police officers have to obtain the right to conduct a search and seizure, and a failure to follow proper procedure could result in a reduction or dismissal of charges.

Source: newsobserver.com, "Police crack million-dollar theft ring in Charlotte," Cleve R. Wootson, Jr., April 12, 2012

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