Sarah Ryley | ProPublica and the New York Daily News | Reader Supported News | April 24, 2016
n undercover NYPD officer entered the spotless Super Laundromat & Dry Cleaners in Inwood, a largely Dominican neighborhood at the northernmost tip of Manhattan. He made his rounds through the store, hawking what he said were stolen gadgets — an iPhone, iPad Mini and iPad.
One man took the bait, agreeing to shell out $200 for all three. He was arrested during the May 2013 sting, and the trouble seemed to end there.
But seven months later — the week before Christmas — cops arrived at the laundromat again. This time, they slapped a neon sticker on the front door declaring in block letters: “RESTRAINING ORDER.”
They presented the store’s owner, Sung Cho, with a daunting slew of legal papers, threatening to shutter the laundromat for a year and auction off everything inside. Their justification, the cops said: The store was being “used to facilitate criminal possession of stolen property.”