The owner of North Shore Coins in Evanston was found guilty last week of “continuing a financial crimes enterprise” after he bought purportedly stolen goods from undercover police, according to the Chicago Tribune.
James Coello, 47, of Chicago, pled guilty to the charges and was sentenced to 36 months of probation and 100 hours of community service, the Tribune reports.
Coello was arrested and charged with multiple felony counts in September 2012, after he purchased thousands of dollars of stolen jewelry and other valuables from undercover officers during a sting operation that lasted six months, according to police.
Earlier: Evanston Coin Seller Accused of Buying Stolen Property
The investigation into Coello’s business at 1501 Chicago Ave. began after Evanston Police began to suspect that merchandise stolen in residential home burglaries was being purchased at his store.
Undercover officers, posing as burglars, began bringing items into North Shore Coin to sell, police said. During their conversations, the officers alluded to Coello that the merchandise was stolen. The investigation revealed that Coello was not recording the sales or requesting identification from sellers, police said.
According to investigators, Coello assured the undercover officers that he would not reveal the source of the goods and further assured them that he always melted the valuables down quickly, police said. During a subsequent meeting, an undercover officer told the defendant that he had purchased his sale items from another burglar, but that he also sometimes steals things himself. Coello advised him that it was better to be a middleman than a burglar because they typically faced less serious charges when caught, a police release said. On another occasion, the defendant advised undercover officers not to steal near Evanston and not to tell anyone else about his business, according to the release.
During the course of the investigation, Coello was recorded buying thousands of dollars worth of purportedly stolen merchandise that included watches, gold and silver rings, coins, necklaces, and other valuables.
Coello told the Tribune that his business is no longer operating.