Arundel Store Raided, Merchandise Seized

Police Say It Was Suspected Of Dealing In Stolen Goods

July 25, 2009|By Andrea F. Siegel | Andrea F. Siegel,

Suspecting that a pawnshop outside Annapolis was helping to fence stolen goods, officers raided it this week, seizing dozens of new items that were believed to have been stolen from area businesses, Anne Arundel County police said.

The county also shut down the Trading Depot, at 2020A West St., for operating without needed permits and licenses, police said.

Among the items seized Wednesday were housewares and hair-growth products, power tools and purses, diet aids and art supplies. Police said many were designer and brand-name goods, including more than 200 Vera Bradley purses and Oil of Olay products. Tags were still on many of the items. Also seized were jewelry and a shoplifting prevention device.

The estimated value of the items is more than $100,000, said police spokesman Justin Mulcahy.

"The investigation at this time is pretty active," he said.

The owner, Darryle A. Carter, 49, of Bowie, said he is not running a pawnshop, that he thought he had or was in process of obtaining the proper licenses and permits and that he bought the merchandise legitimately. Carter has not been charged in the case.

"I have receipts to show where I buy my things online and at liquidation sales," Carter said. He said he also bought items at flea markets and from individuals.

"I thought I had the right licenses and permits," Carter said.

Police worked with county inspections and permits officials, who closed the business, and said the store had been under investigation since March.

"He needed a special exception to operate a pawnshop," said Tracie Reynolds, a spokeswoman for county planners. "There's a reason, so that people don't fence stolen property," she said.

The application process includes public hearings and can take months. The store also did not have county permits or a state license to deal in pawned and secondhand precious metals, officials said.

Carter said county officials did not return, as they said they would, to check on the building occupancy permit and that he was in the process of trying to get a state license to deal in precious metals. He said he wishes that officials had discussed their concerns with him.

He said he does not intend to try to reopen. "It's evident that the county doesn't want me here," he said.

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