The Yassins are both charged with felony theft and control of stolen goods, and Shlain is charged with felony retail theft.

Mahmoud Yassin was arrested at Discount Cigarettes, 2990 N. Milwaukee Avenue in Chicago, while his son and Shlain were arrested at their homes by investigators including the Chicago Police Asset Forfeiture Unit. Each was ordered held in lieu of $10,000 bail following a hearing today before Cook County Criminal Court Judge Donald Panarese, according to court records.

What police described as an elaborate fencing operation supplied Mahmoud Yassin s stores as well as others, buying cigarettes and items including cough syrup, tooth whitening strips, coffee and razor blades, from shoplifters, police said.

Police began investigating about six months ago, and during “Operation Cheap Smokes,” found that Mahmoud Yassin used Discount Cigarettes, as well as two other shops, School Snack Grocery and Tobacco, 3936 W. School St., and Euro Communications, 5359 W. Belmont Ave., to sell the items for retail or to other businesses. The items also were resold on eBay, according to police.

At Discount Cigarettes, investigators recorded undercover sales in which people posed as shoplifters and the Yassins negotiated prices, police said.

When police served warrants Wednesday, at the Belmont shop they found a false wall hiding a storeroom filled with merchandize, including 360 packs of stolen cigarettes, police said. In all, they found 6,300 packs without the proper tax stamps at the one store, police said.

At the Yassins Orland Park home, police found $100,000 in cash, believed to be the proceeds of the fencing operation, as well as a Mercedes Benz and four other vehicles, police said. The homes were used to organize and prepare items being sold online for shipment, police said.

After the arrests Wednesday, Mahmoud Yassin was hospitalized at Our Lady of the Resurrection Medical Center, Mirabelli said.

The three are scheduled to appear again in court on June 13.


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