Elaborate sting operation leads to arrest of nail salon owner

SPOKANE VALLEY, Wash. - Spokane police used an elaborate sting operation to snare a Spokane Valley businessman.

When detectives arrest burglars, they always ask them where they are fencing their stolen property. Starting two summers ago, Spokane police said the thieves were commonly tossing out the name "Asian Le."

After a lengthy investigation, detectives learned "Asian Le" is a man who owns and operates Super Nails at Mission and Pines in Spokane Valley.

Le is suspected of buying thousands of dollars in stolen property and shipping some of the items to Vietnam.

Elaborate sting operation leads to arrest of nail salon owner

Police became one of Le's suppliers. Detectives would pose as thieves and show up with electronics at Super Nails.

"What we had is property that Mr. Le assumed was stolen," said Spokane police officer Jennifer DeRuwe. "We would sell it to him and we would get money and that would be one of the buys."

The final deal happened on Tuesday. Police said Le purchased 20 new Apple iPads for $3,000 in cash. Lee was arrested and his home and business were searched for other stolen property.

According to police, by taking Le out of the burglary business, the demand for stolen items goes down.

"When the burglars burglarize your house and take your stuff, they are not going to have as many places to sell it. That's what they're doing; they're breaking into your house, stealing all your stuff and trying to sell it for money. So by taking out these middle people, the people who are encouraging this behavior, we hope to reduce the crime rate," said DeRuwe.