Former Chamber President Charged in Jewelry Theft

Times Staff Writer

Melvin Greenstein, who resigned last week as president of the Lawndale Chamber of Commerce, has been charged with receiving stolen property at his Lawndale pawnshop, sheriff’s deputies said.

Greenstein declined to comment.

The arrest is the latest of several damaging blows to the chamber. Jerry Enis, the chamber’s paid director, resigned Wednesday to take a similar job with the Lakewood Chamber of Commerce, officials said.

Last August, the City Council voted to withdraw its annual $70,000 subsidy to the chamber--nearly two-thirds of the chamber’s $110,000 budget for 1988-89, officials said.


Asked about the impact of Greenstein’s arrest on the chamber, board member Sheryl Robinson said: “We always get bad PR (Public Relations) So what’s new?”

Greenstein, 53, resigned as chamber president last week because he was frustrated over the direction that the organization was taking, according to Lawndale Mayor Sarann Kruse.

Greenstein is scheduled to be arraigned on April 11.

The arrest came after sheriff’s deputies searched his Boulevard Pawn Shop on Hawthorne Boulevard and found a $300 Cartier watch believed to have been stolen in the Feb. 16 burglary of a Marina del Rey hotel.


Deputies also searched Greenstein’s West Los Angeles home and found a $10,000 diamond bracelet also believed taken in the hotel burglary, deputies said. A second Cartier watch taken from the hotel is missing.

Greenstein, who was arrested on Tuesday and booked at Marina del Rey sheriff’s station, is free on $5,000 bail. Contacted at his pawnshop Thursday, Greenstein said his shop would remain open.

Greenstein’s arrest followed a month-long investigation and the arrest of Lisa Ann Adamo, 26, of West Los Angeles, who is suspected of breaking into the safe at the Marina Beach Hotel in Marina del Rey. Officials would not say how they linked Greenstein to Adamo.