Some people design or build things to order. Sultan Mohammed Ferozi stole things to order. First, he'd find out the specific items his customers wanted to purchase. Then he'd steal these things, mail them off and receive payment.
And it worked well, for awhile. Then right before the 2005 Christmas holidays, Fairfax County police caught him in the act at Fair Oaks Mall. In April, he pleaded guilty in court to grand larceny and possession of burglary tools. And last week, he was sentenced to a month in jail.
"HE WAS stealing books from the Family Christian Books store," said Assistant Commonwealth's Attorney Bob McClain. "There's evidence that the defendant was selling them on e-Bay — and that it wasn't the first time."
When Ferozi, 30, of 6825 Ridgeway Drive in Springfield, entered his plea on April 25, McClain told head Circuit Court Judge Michael McWeeny details of the case against him. He said that, on Dec. 14, Fairfax County police Det. Mike Deane — then working undercover as part of the police department's Christmas Anti-Theft Team (CAT) — was alerted to a "possible shoplifter" in Fair Oaks Mall.
"[Deane] saw the defendant conceal a book in the Borders Express bookstore and walk out with it in his orange book bag, without paying," said McClain. He said police also watched as Ferozi stole books from the Family Christian Books store.
MPO William C. Woolf II, also on the CAT team, explained what happened in a Dec. 14 affidavit for a warrant to search Ferozi's home for the hot items. He wrote that he and Deane followed Ferozi into the Family Christian Books store.
"Ferozi stayed in the store for several minutes, but never went to the register," wrote the officer. "Ferozi left the store with his bag full of unpaid items."
This time, though, the police pair stopped Ferozi when he left the store and arrested him for stealing the book from Borders. "In plain view from the bulging bag, [I] could see numerous Christian type books," wrote Woolf. "A search incident to Ferozi's arrest revealed four books from the Family Christian Books store ... valued at $269."
IN COURT, McClain noted that police also found on Ferozi's person two box cutters. Woolf wrote in the affidavit that they're used by shoplifters to remove price tags from merchandise. "Ferozi also had numerous mailing labels on his person with names and addresses of people all over the United States," wrote the officer. "These mailing labels also had the titles of books on them."
Woolf noted that these titles "matched the books [Ferozi] was stealing at Fair Oaks Mall. It appeared [he] was using these mailing labels to indicate which books he needed to steal to fulfill his orders." The officer then concluded that Ferozi was "mailing the stolen property to others throughout the United States."
In court, McClain noted that a search of Ferozi's home yielded 112 books, 93 religious videos and 78 religious CDs. Ferozi's attorney objected to this information being a part of the case since his client wasn't charged with stealing these particular items. But, said McWeeny, "These are facts surrounding the existing circumstances of the case."
McClain suggested Ferozi receive some time behind bars, with the judge suspending "a significant part of that time" and placing the defendant on probation "to deter him from ever doing this again."
Ferozi's attorney acknowledged that his client needs a psychological evaluation, but he said Ferozi's now attending school and working full time. He also noted Ferozi's successful completion of four years service in the army. And he asked McWeeny to "allow him to continue to go to school to continue his self-imposed rehabilitation."
FEROZI THEN stood and apologized for his actions. He also told the judge that he's getting a certificate enabling him to work in the field of heating, air conditioning and electrical wiring.
"These are serious felonies," replied McWeeny. "But since it's the first time you've been convicted of a felony, I'm going to sentence you to the low end of the [state sentencing] guidelines."
On each charge, he then sentenced Ferozi to three years in prison, suspending two years and 11 months of each sentence and running them concurrently. That leaves Ferozi with a month to serve. The judge also placed him on three years probation and ordered that he be evaluated for possible mental-health counseling.