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Metro Detroit jewelry store accused of selling items stolen from smash-and-grabs

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OAK PARK, Mich. (CBS DETROIT) - A jewelry store in Oak Park is accused of selling jewelry that was stolen in several smash-and-grab robberies in Michigan and other states.

A complaint for forfeiture against Maro Jewelers Inc. was filed last week in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan. The complaint requests for $172,380 in cash that was seized from the store to be forfeited.

Maro Jewelers is also accused of conspiring to launder money by mixing the money made from selling the stolen jewelry with legitimate profits. Investigators believe that the store also acted as a fence for two people, Brian Moore and Darrell Reed. Both people have since pled guilty to robbery.

A search warrant of the store in April 2021 also uncovered $148,996 worth of items, including two diamond rings stolen from Kay Jewelers stores in Michigan, each worth about $20,000, and a loose diamond worth $13,240 that was stolen from a Jared store in Texas.

Other items recovered included a diamond stolen from Kay Jewelers in Nobles, Indiana, in February 2021, records show.

According to court documents, Maro Jewelers is accused of operating as a "fence," which is a middleman who buys the stolen jewelry from the thief at a discounted price and then resells it to the consumer at a higher price. 

Records show jewelry was stolen from more than 30 locations between August 2018 and April 2021. An FBI investigation revealed that many suspects involved lived and planned the alleged robberies in the Metro Detroit area.

The smash-and-grab robberies involved two to three people who used a sledgehammer to break display cases and grab the jewelry, including loose diamonds, according to court records. The suspects would get away in a vehicle, likely a Chrysler, that was waiting outside.

The grab-and-go thefts involved one or two women who would enter a store and ask to look at a specific item before fleeing with it.

Court documents show that in March 2021, a woman stole a white gold solitaire ring from Zales in the Fairlane Town Center worth $7,000. Investigators believe the woman gave the ring to a co-conspirator, who sold it to Maro Jewelers. The co-conspirator was arrested as he was coming out of the store with about $2,078 in cash that authorities believe came from the sale. Police never recovered the diamond.

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