- Associated Press - Friday, January 20, 2017

NORRISTOWN, Pa. (AP) - A business owner on Philadelphia’s historic Jewelers Row was charged on Friday with fencing jewelry and other items stolen from luxury homes in the suburbs.

A burglary ring pilfered more than $1.5 million worth of expensive watches, jewelry, money and high-end purses in 15 thefts between August 2015 and July 2016, the Montgomery County district attorney’s office said.

Wasim Shazad, of East Norriton, then used his storefronts on Jewelers Row, the nation’s oldest diamond district, to buy and sell the stolen goods, prosecutors said.

Shazad was arraigned Friday on charges that include belonging to a corrupt organization and receiving stolen property. He was jailed on $250,000 bail. He couldn’t be reached for comment while in custody, and online court records don’t list an attorney who can comment on his behalf.

Four burglary suspects were first charged in July. Police said they operated in Montgomery, Chester and Delaware counties outside Philadelphia.

In one robbery, the crooks forced their way into a home, tied up the resident, threw a safe from a second-floor balcony and made off with $500,000 worth of jewelry and expensive handbags, court documents say.

Police said they identified Shazad as the burglars’ fence through eyewitnesses, surveillance, undercover operations and a review of his finances.

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