Theft Ring

Defense lawyer: No terrorists in theft ring

Defense lawyers say authorities have failed to demonstrate that an alleged stolen-goods resale ring broken up in 2003 had any links to terrorism. Authorities gathered in Cincinnati a year and a half ago to announce arrests of 19 alleged participants in an operation that sold stolen merchandise in convenience stores.

Investigators said then that they were looking into whether revenues sent to the Middle East might have been intended to support terrorism. But defense lawyers said the participants were sending money home to family members in Kuwait, Jordan and Bulgaria - and a judge in Cincinnati agreed. The investigation so far has produced no jail sentences and no link to terrorism. Eighteen of the 19 suspects have either pleaded guilty to reduced charges or been acquitted. The alleged ringleader is in jail awaiting trial.

Cincinnati police say they were obligated to do the crackdown in order to stop crimes in the stores.