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Police Catch Alleged Thieves In Fake Storefront Sting

By Ron Sanders, WBZ-TV
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From left to right: Anthony Martinez, Gale Ashkir, Ayanle Mohamed and Nestor Mota-Diaz. (CBS)

From left to right: Anthony Martinez, Gale Ashkir, Ayanle Mohamed and Nestor Mota-Diaz. (CBS)

420x316-grad-stevens1 Carl Stevens
Carl Stevens is an award-winning general assignment reporter for WBZ...
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BOSTON (CBS) –Inside the Boston Discount Jewelry Exchange, Boston Police were running a fake store to catch “Grinches.”

“We’re going to find those individuals. We’re going to lock them up and throw the key away,” said Mayor Thomas Menino at a news conference to reveal results of the sting.

About five weeks ago, two undercover officers set-up shop in Downtown Crossing as M.I.B Jewelry, pretending to be a jewelry and electronics business willing to buy stolen merchandise. “And very, very quickly, on the first day, people started to come to our doorway with items they had recently stolen,” said Police Commissioner Ed Davis.

WBZ News Radio’s Carl Stevens has more.

With strategically placed cameras, the officers captured images of suspects selling stolen goods ranging from computers and video games to smart phones and digital cameras, XBoxes and watches, among 230 items taken in break-ins from Amherst to Boston to Chatham, and points in between.

WBZ-TV’s Ron Sanders has more.

Unbeknownst to the suspects, M.I.B. stood for “Men In Blue.” While the elaborate sting was in progress, there was a break-in at the home of Brooke Woodson in Hyde Park. “You come home, your home is wrecked and then you look around to see what’s gone,” recalled Woodson.

One of the undercover detectives working at M.I.B. Jewelry, took the call, processed the scene and, a few days later, bought a couple of Fender basses that had been stolen from Woodson’s home. “I thought they be shipped out somewhere,” said Woodson.

“To me, that was the crowning jewel of this whole operation,” said the undercover detective who asked that his name not be used.

“And here we are today, I’m holding them again,” said Woodson admiring his instruments. “It’s a very great day.”

Boston Police have made seven arrests, including Ayanle Mohamed, 20, Anthony Martinez, 17, Nestor Mota-Diaz, 18 and Gale Ashkir, 26.

They credited Operation Men In Blue for helping reduce property crime citywide by 2 percent. They say they obtained two dozen arrest warrants from the operation and expect 30 to 40 more to follow in coming weeks as the investigation unfolds.

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