Friday, August 15, 2014
Cell Phone Bust is Deja Vu All Over Again
Fox news first reported on a multi-million-dollar cell phone theft ring being busted in Minneapolis, with the Mustafa family as the ringleaders of the operation, although the Minneapolis Star Tribune had far more details about the nuts and bolts of the scam, the Fox story actually published the addresses of the businesses involved. For some reason, those addresses brought back memories of a lyric from a famous Bob Dylan song: And here I sit so patiently/waiting to find out what price/you have to pay to get out of/going through all these things twice.
Seven and a half minutes later ("Stuck Inside of Mobile with the Memphis Blues Again" is a LONG song) I realized why. I had indeed blogged about many of these businesses before, back when I was writing on the Adventures of Johnny Northside. Furthermore, in the comment section of that blog post, longtime northside residents spoke about how many of those businesses were selling fenced goods for ten years prior. That post, for the record, was written in 2009. So as far back as 1999, maybe longer, some of these businesses or at least businesses out of the same address, have been selling stolen goods in my community.
A little more about these places, especially the ones that doubled up on the stolen goods...
...931 West Broadway was listed before as Best Wireless. Is it still the same name on the exterior? These cell phone stores are all interchangeable, so I'll have to look the next time I pass by. The address doesn't exist as far as Hennepin County is concerned, but 927 West Broadway does, and both addresses come up with the same information on the city's website.
927/31 West Broadway is owned by the city and hosts multiple businesses there, although the city's website shows the most recent business license to be from a tattoo parlor and that expired in 2006. I'm hoping the city's website is incomplete in this regard, because the alternative is that none of the occupants of that CPED-owned structure have had business licenses for at least the past eight years.
One of the new properties, listed by Fox News as 827 West Broadway, doesn't exist as far as the city and county websites are concerned. But 825 West Broadway does. That property is owed by Gada Al Sarama, according to the city, and Catherine Shannon according to the county. Mpls Properties Development Inc is listed as the taxpayer, although that name does not show up when I do a business name search with the Minnesota Secretary of State. Mpls Properties Development does list 931 West Broadway as their mailing address though.
Fun fact: the last business license the city has on their website for 827 West Broadway is for the sale of used goods and is in the name of an entity called "Ms Loves 4 Less." Something tells me that searching "Ms Loves 4 Less" and "used goods" will turn up far more NSFW content than anything useful.
1506 West Broadway is the next address that was covered twice. This is the home of the infamous Janine's Foods and another cell phone shop. 1506 and 1510 West Broadway are also interchangeable on the city's website, and the current business license is at 1510 by Zaad Food. Doublekey Properties is listed as the owner, although again, neither Zaad nor Doublekey show up as active businesses with the secretary of state.
The new places caught stealing are at 523 West Broadway, which again isn't searchable on the city's site. The strip mall likely contains that place, with 617 West Broadway as its address.
On a side note, I'm not sure if this person is related, but a Nidal Mustafa has been written about both on this blog and Johnny Northside. Nidal is the former owner of the "Slice of Chicago" restaurant where Mr. BBQ now resides. Nidal wanted to redevelop the former Jug Liquor site on the 200 block of Broadway, but was unsuccessful in that endeavor. Much consternation was made about the prevalent drug dealing at Nidal's business, although I haven't heard similar complaints about Mr. BBQ or Pappy's. Try the rib tips at Mr. BBQ or the paninis or the Greek omelet at Pappy's. There, at least something positive about West Broadway slipped into this article.
And fianlly 2145 Lowry, which is where I signed up for my internet service. Comcast came to my house and provided the equipment, so I'm pretty sure that was a legal purchase. Still, it's only fitting that I use the internet connection they provided to me to write about their involvement with stolen cell phones.
I don't know what the answer is here, but if our cell phone and inconvenience stores are repeatedly caught selling stolen goods then they ought to be shut down and shut out of the neighborhood.