KNOXVILLE (WATE) – Two business owners were arrested after a raid of a Knoxville business Wednesday.
Knox County Sheriff’s Office deputies searched Vinny’s Market and Deli at 941 Virginia Avenue in the Beaumont neighborhood for stolen goods. Mostapha Hallabou, 40, and Yousseff Souam, 43, were charged with felony theft. They are accused of buying thousands of dollars of what undercover officers told them were stolen goods.
Officers said they spent most of the day inventorying forensically marked goods that had been sold to the market. The goods worth a total value of $3,254.46. Stolen items included cigarettes, laundry items, drinks and more.
Knox County Sheriff’s Office Chief Lee Tramel warned other store owners that the Sheriff’s Office was coming after them if they sold stolen goods. Tramel said it was a problem that perpetuated the opioid crises in Knox County. He said many shoplifters steal specific items at the direction of store owners to help pay for their drugs.
Deputies raided another business in the same neighborhood for stolen goods in May, Sexton’s New and Used Tires and Automotive. The sheriff’s Office said they have conducted one other similar raid.
The sheriff’s office believes investigations like this one will help fight opioid addiction in the community.
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