Dover man charged in fencing bust

July 15, 2010 12:28:54 PM PDT
Police arrested a Dover, New Jersey man for allegedly selling stolen items at his video store. The Morris County prosecutor told Eyewitness News that this is the largest fencing operation ever uncovered in Morris County.

The stolen items came not only from stores, but also from people's homes.

"We never see anything like this in this town," said neighbor, Marisela Garcia.

Neighbors marveled at the sight, as more than 1,000 boxes of suspected stolen goods were hauled out of the Dover Video Store Tuesday.

So many boxes, in fact, that investigators needed a conveyor belt to load all the evidence into a large truck.

"DVDs, jewelry, cell phones, TVs," said Robert Bianchi, the Morris County Prosecutor.

Prosecutors arrested 64-year old Manuel Flores and charged him with leading an organized retail theft enterprise.

Flores apparently directed potential thieves to easy targets and promised to sell the stolen goods in his store.

"Actually asking them for specific items that are easy to resell on the street," Bianchi said.

Investigators believe there could have been hundreds of thousands of dollars of stolen goods crammed into his nondescript video store on Bassett Highway in Dover.

Items inside were possibly stolen from major retailers, including Best Buy, Wal-Mart, Target, TJ Maxx, A&P, ShopRite, Pathmark, Macy's, Kmart, and Home Depot.

"We were surprised to hear what happened, he's a good guy. We didn't know what was going on," said neighbor, Anis Sheikh.

Some of the stolen items may also be from people's homes.

Police are making a detailed inventory to ensure that the goods are returned to their rightful owners.

"As the economy gets worse, thefts and burglaries will pick up," Bianchi said.

Manuel Flores will make his first court appearance in Morris County Thursday.

His bail is currently set at $250,000.

Flores is charged with being the leader of an organized retail theft enterprise, two counts of receiving stolen property, one count of fencing, one count of conspiracy to commit theft, one count of conspiracy to receiving stolen property, seven counts of conspiracy to commit fencing, six counts of attempt to commit theft and five counts of attempt to commit to receiving stolen property.

Anyone with information is asked to call the Morris County Prosecutor's Office at (973) 285-6200 or the Morris County Sheriff's Office Crime Stopper Program at (973) COPCALL.

Photos courtesy of the Daily Record