Will County charges filed against 10 suspects in nationwide theft fencing ring

Will County State’s Attorney James Glasgow talks to reporters in February 2013 in Joliet. State and local prosecutors said Monday that Peterson is charged with solicitation of murder for hire and solicitation for murder after allegedly trying to hire someone to kill Glasgow while Peterson was in prison.

Prosecutors in Will County have charged 10 people who are charged with participating in a sophisticated retail theft fencing operation that engaged in criminal activity in Illinois, California and New York.

Will County State’s Attorney James Glasgow announced on Thursday that two indictments were filed against 10 people who are accused of taking part of the criminal enterprise that engaged in the theft and sale of stolen retail products.

“We all pay the price when sophisticated criminals develop distribution systems to transport and sell stolen retail products, through the higher prices that are passed on to the consumer and, more significantly, with increased criminal activity when those at the top of these sophisticated enterprises recruit individuals to engage in theft at the local retailer,” Glasgow said in a statement.

Instead of going after the thieves who stole those items at retailers, Glasgow said his office is prosecuting those at the top of the organization to put an end to the entire enterprise.

“This sends the loud and clear message that crime will not be tolerated in Will County,” Glasgow said.

Defendants charged in Will County include Iaad Hamad, 48, of Oak Lawn; Hani Hamad, 51, of Chicago; Markell Spencer, 35, of Chicago; Michael Beals, 41, of Bolingbrook; and Fekeisha Hamlin, 41, of Bolingbrook.

Other defendants charged in Will County who reside outside Illinois include, Dylan Bryant, 28, of Irvine, California; Brett Pendleton, 26, of Costa Mesa, California; Ahmed Salem, 44, of Santa Monica, California; Donald Kimball, 27, of Irvine, California; and Arthur Blaire, 75, of Lawrence, New York.

All of them face charges related to financial criminal activity. Iaad Hamad is the one defendant among them who faces a charge of being an organizer of a continuing financial criminal enterprise.

Iaad Hamad

Retail thefts in Wilmette, a suburb in northern Cook County, led to the identification of the fencing ring, according Glasgow’s news release.

Stolen products recovered by law enforcement in the investigation have an estimated retail value of $7.5 million and were stolen from stores throughout the Chicago area, including stores in Will County, according to Glasgow’s spokeswoman Carole Cheney.

Iaad Hamad, Hani Hamad, Spencer, Beals and Hamlin were allegedly responsible for purchasing the stolen products from local retail theft suspects and then palletizing and shipping the stolen products to the other defendants in California and New York, Cheney said.

Hani Hamad

That second group then sold the stolen products in online marketplaces such as Amazon and Walmart and through local stores in California and New York, Cheney said.

Iaad Hamad is the owner of Liquimart, which employed Spencer, and Hani Hamad is the owner of King Kong Wholesale, Cheney said.

Beals ran his own store and allegedly concealed his proceeds in a company called SLAEB Investments, Cheney said. Illinois business records show Hamlin listed as a manager for that company.

The yearlong investigation was a cooperative effort between Glasgow’s office, Homeland Security Investigations, police departments in Shorewood, Wilmette, and Chicago, Will County Police Assistance Team, Illinois Department of Revenue, Illinois State Police and California Highway Patrol.

Private sector support was provided by Kroger’s Organized Retail Crime Unit, CVS Organized Retail Crime Team, Walgreens and Target.