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Press Release

Pawn Shop Owner Sentenced to Over 3 Years in Prison in Scheme to Sell Stolen Goods

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Maryland
Paid More than Five Shoplifters for Stolen Goods Which He Resold Over the Internet

Baltimore, Maryland – U.S. District Judge J. Frederick Motz sentenced Noel Erik Anshel, age 49, of Owings Mills, Maryland today to 46 months in prison followed by three years of supervised release for transporting stolen goods. Judge Motz also ordered Anshel to forfeit $551,000, including funds held in four PayPal accounts and six bank accounts, six properties in Baltimore purchased with proceeds from the scheme, and property seized from his pawn shop.

The sentence was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein; Special Agent in Charge Brian Murphy of the United States Secret Service - Baltimore Field Office; Chief Gary Gardner of the Howard County Police Department; and Commissioner Kevin Davis of the Baltimore Police Department.

According to his plea agreement, from January 1, 2010 to January 1, 2014, Anshel was part owner of Hilltop Cellular, a pawn shop located in the 5400 block of Reisterstown Road in Baltimore.  Anshel became the sole owner and manager of the shop from January 1, 2014 to August 12, 2015.

From at least January 1, 2010 to August 12, 2015, Anshel paid cash to more than five shoplifters in exchange for products stolen from retailers, including construction tools, pressure washers, kitchen appliances, electrical generators and consumer electronics.  The products were frequently new and still in the original box.  The shoplifters brought the stolen items to Hilltop Cellular, where Anshel purchased them for far less than the products’ retail value.  Anshel paid at least three of his “regular” shoplifters over $40,000 each for stolen products.

Anshel had a license to resell “second-hand” merchandise at Hillside Cellular, but would list the stolen items on eBay as new. 

In April 2014, Howard County Police officers followed an individual from a Home Depot store where the individual had stolen several items, to Hilltop Cellular where the individual sold the items to Anshel.  Investigators then entered the pawn shop and seized the stolen items. At that time, Anshel stated that, “90% of what I buy is stolen,” and “it’s the cost of doing business.”

Law enforcement subsequently executed a search warrant at Hilltop Cellular and seized a large amount of stolen property worth approximately $20,000.

The total estimated loss from the scheme is approximately $551,000.  Anshel used the proceeds of the scheme to purchase, among other things, six houses in Baltimore.

Updated June 10, 2016