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Crime Report: Tinley Park tobacconist, employee charged with tax fraud

Updated: February 28, 2014 6:16AM



The owner of a tobacco shop has been charged with felony tax fraud after he was caught selling cigarettes without an illinois tax stamp printed on the packages, according to police.

Mohammed Awad, 26, 8515 Meade Ave., Burbank, the owner of Smokes Club, 7212 W. 191st St., Tinley Park, and an employee, Mohammed Darwish, 24, 3927 W. 81st Place, Chicago, were charged with violating Illinois’ tobacco tax law.

Police said a Tinley Park woman, who used to own the store, noticed the unmarked packages after buying three packs of cigarettes at the shop Jan. 12. The customer mentioned the lack of tax stamps to staff members, who immediately closed the store after she left, police said.

They said the woman called police, and when officers arrived a short time later they saw Awad and Darwish filling garbage bags with tobacco items from behind the counter and bringing them into a back room. The men saw the officers knocking at the front door but ignored police for several minutes while they moved the garbage bags, according to police.

They said that when the men allowed officers inside, they refused to let them search the store, but police obtained a search warrant and found several garbage bags filled with cigarette packs that were missing Illinois tax stamps.

Police said they also found a hidden room behind a mirror with video recording equipment that appeared to have been disconnected recently.

Kate McCann

$50K in valuables taken in home burglary

About $50,000 worth of jewelry and other valuables were stolen Jan. 3 during a burglary of a house in the 9000 block of Basswood Drive in Tinley Park, according to police.

The family told police the burglars found the jewelry in a safe, which also contained the family’s Social Security cards and passports and a collection of valuable U.S. currency that included bills dating to 1930. The collection is valued at about $2,000, police said.

Police are investigating whether a second home burglary on Jan. 3, in the 9000 block of Timberwood Lane, is connected. In that break-in, the family came home to find the master bedroom ransacked and jewelry missing.

Kate McCann



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