It was horrifying to read that an established silver store in Brooklyn, New York had purchased the large stolen Menorah worth over $10,000 from the thief for $3000.
The size of the menorah and the manner in which it was sold should have caused the owner of the silver store to put up his antennas and call the police. He didn’t.
The Shulchan Aruch (CM 356:1) writes that not only is it forbidden to purchase an item that was stolen – it is also a terrible sin. How so? The storeowner who makes such a purchase strengthens the hand of those evildoers.
The Talmud (Kiddushin) quotes the expression of the common folk, “It is not the mouse who steals, but the mouse hole.”
Such a store owner causes the thief to steal further, for if the thief would not have a place to dispose of it, he would not have stolen.
What about purchasing form a store who purchases from thieves? A good question. Although the Poskim do not mention this case per se, the rationale behind the Halacha in Chapter 356 certainly applies in this case as well.
One could perhaps argue that one cannot blame them for this, but this is naivete. The store owner should be chastised and warned that if he does it again no one will buy from him.