HARRISBURG – Attorney General Josh Shapiro announced today that the owner of two Bucks County pawn shops and one of his employees plead guilty to felony charges for their roles in a scheme to steal, pawn and resell $700,000 in merchandise from national chain stores. The defendants used people suffering from substance use disorder, who were termed “Boosters”, to steal the products they then resold.
The owner of the pawn shops, Michael Stein, 36, of Langhorne, and, Brian Jancia, 29, one of the former pawn shop workers, were arrested in March 2018 for their roles in the pawn shop theft. Stein plead guilty to corrupt organizations and receiving stolen property, both first-degree felonies. Jancia plead guilty to receiving stolen property.
During the course of a year-long investigation with Falls Township police, the Bucks County District Attorney’s Office and other agencies, Attorney General’s agents learned that employees from Levittown Quick Cash Trading Post and Morrisville Loan & Pawn purchased 5,000 stolen items at one third of their retail value from professional thieves who stole them from the stores.
The pawn shops resold the unopened, brand-new merchandise on eBay or other online retailers at full value.
“These defendants ran a scheme to profit off of those struggling with substance use disorder and take advantage of the opioid crisis ravaging Pennsylvania,” Attorney General Josh Shapiro said. “The companies they targeted faces significant financial loss, which was passed on to consumers in our Commonwealth. My Office is holding the accountable for the despicable enterprise they operated in Bucks County.”
Stein will have his sentencing deferred based upon the terms of his cooperation-based plea agreement with our Office. The cases are being prosecuted by Chief Deputy Attorney General Erik Olsen.
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