Restaurant owner gets probation for buying stolen electronics

Restaurant owner gets probation for buying stolen electronics

URBANA — A Champaign businessman who admitted he was fencing stolen electronics from his Bradley Avenue fried-chicken restaurant has been sentenced to probation and home confinement.

Kirit Patel, 44, who listed an address in the 1600 block of Bermuda Avenue, Urbana, pleaded guilty Friday before Judge Tom Difanis to felony theft, admitting that between Jan. 30 and April 11, he bought several electronic devices that he intended to resell, knowing they were stolen.

As a result of a plea agreement worked out between the state's attorney's office and Patel's attorney, Steve Sarm of Champaign, he will spend 30 months on probation and 180 days on electronic home detention, pay a $5,000 fine and other court costs, and forfeit stolen electronics seized by police to the Champaign Police Department.

In return for his guilty plea, three other counts of money laundering were dismissed.

Assistant State's Attorney Lindsey Clark said Champaign police began investigating Patel in January after learning that he was reportedly buying stolen phones, laptop computers and other electronics from people who came in to his business, Krispy Krunchy Chicken at 922 W. Bradley Ave., C. He paid them in cash from his register or his pocket, police said.

A confidential source working with police sold stolen electronics to Patel on five occasions between January and April, Clark said.

Patel told the source he was especially interested in Apple Macbook laptops. He told the source that he wiped the phones and computers clean and shipped them overseas for resale.

On April 11, police did court-authorized searches of Patel's home, vehicle and business and found more than 200 electronic devices that had been stolen, Clark said.

Included in the haul were cellphones, personal computers, video-game systems, stereo equipment, hoverboards, cash registers and digital cameras.

Clark said Patel had three prior convictions for driving under the influence and others for driving under revocation and obstructing justice.

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