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Press Release | NO. 2003-010

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Press Release # 010
Friday, February 7, 2003

New York City Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly And Queens District Attorney Richard A. Brown Announce Arrest Of Three People For Selling Stolen Merchandise From Apartment In Queens

New York City Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly and Queens District Attorney Richard A. Brown today announced the arrest of three people who were selling stolen clothing and other merchandise from an apartment in the Elmhurst section of Queens. Those arrested include: Cecilia Aguilera, female, age 42; Maria Valle, female, age 41; and, Alvara Valencia male, age 44. They face charges including criminal possession of stolen property, possession of burglar's tools, and failure to report sales tax.

Police launched an investigation after receiving tips that the subjects were selling authentic, name-brand merchandise at heavy discounts from their two-bedroom apartment at 42-25 80th Street in Elmhurst. After gathering sufficient evidence, detectives executed a search warrant on the apartment on Thursday, February 6, and found vast amounts of clothing, jewelry, and perfumes worth between $750,000 and $1 million.

Detectives, who also found a "Sensormatic" security tag remover and several security tags, believe the subjects shoplifted most of the merchandise directly from retail stores. Among the high-end clothing were products from DKNY, Anne Klein, Ralph Lauren, Tommy Hilfiger, and Victoria's Secret. Police also recovered Gucci watches and other expensive jewelry.

Police Commissioner Kelly said: "Once again, our officers have done an outstanding job of uncovering an illegal organization and bringing its operatives to justice. These criminals profited on the loss of dozens of major companies and deprived the city of thousands of tax dollars. But now they will pay the price. Let this stand as another reminder: If you shoplift or sell stolen property in New York City, know that we doing are everything we can to catch you and put you in prison."

District Attorney Brown said: "The defendants are alleged to have turned a two-bedroom apartment in Elmhurst into an exclusive neighborhood boutique with clothing racks and glass display cases containing a variety of high-end designer merchandise, women's dresses, pants and blouses as well as jewelry, watches and perfume, stolen from various manufacturers including Ann Taylor, Banana Republic, Kenneth Cole and Gap. They will be charged with multiple counts of Criminal Possession of Stolen Property in the Second Degree and face up to 15 years in prison if convicted."

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