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Feds: Large-scale fencing operation broken up in New Haven

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NEW HAVEN – Five men were arrested Friday on federal charges related to two separate, large-scale fencing operations in the New Haven area.

On June 23, a grand jury sitting in New Haven returned an indictment charging George J. Connelly, Jr., of New Haven, Paul William Muyka, 46, of North Haven, and William Reidell, 40, of Branford, with one count of conspiracy and multiple counts of interstate transportation of stolen property.

On July 7, a grand jury sitting in Hartford returned an indictment charging Andrew Sacco, 43, of East Haven, formerly of Durham, and Matthew Harwood, 42, of Stratford and formerly of Durham, with one count of conspiracy and multiple counts of interstate transportation of stolen property.

Both indictments were unsealed today, after the five men were arrested. All were released on $100,000 bail.

The first indictment alleges that Connelly and Muzyka ran a secondhand store, Ace Amusements, at 42 Kimberly Avenue in New Haven. They are accused of buying stolen property from “boosters,” shoplifters with opioid addictions. The boosters stole the goods from retail stores such as Walmart, Home Depot and Kohl’s, then Connelly and Muzyka would resell the stolen goods at Ace Amusements and online at websites such as eBay and Amazon. Connelly and Muzyka would also sell the property to resellers, like Redeill, who then resold the property online.

The second indictment alleges that Sacco and Harwood knowingly purchased stolen property from boosters and then resold the property at online websites, including, eBay and Amazon, usually in the names of family members and associates. Sacco and Harwood are alleged to have rented cars for boosters for trips to steal items for them. Sacco and Harwood met with boosters to purchase the stolen property at various locations, including at MVP Auto, an auto body shop located at 23 Bernhard Road in North Haven.

The charge of interstate transport of stolen property carries a maximum term of imprisonment of 10 years, and the charge of conspiracy carries a maximum term of imprisonment of five years.