Five men have been arrested on charges connected with the theft of 31 cars that were subsequently sold to a Queens scrap yard.
In a statement issued by his office, Queens District Attorney Richard Brown said the defendants were paid between $400 and $700 for the vehicles, which ranged from Toyota Camrys to Ford Econolines. Most of the vehicles were late 1990s models.
Those arrested include Everett Perry, 47, of Ozone Park; Steven Gregory, 50, of Far Rockaway; Willie Thomas, 62, of St. Albans; Gary Bell, 40, of Jamaica; and Eddie Clark, 66 of Brooklyn.
Brown said the men took advantage of a loophole in New York State law that allows individuals to dispose of vehicles that are eight years old or older without proof of title.
“They simply show their driver’s license at the scrapyard, fill out a [Department of Motor Vehicles] form stating that they are the delivery agent or the vehicle’s owner and leave with cash in their pocket,” Brown said. “Meanwhile, the true owners — many of whom use the cars to commute to work — are left to scramble for another means of transportation.”
Brown said the men were “variously charged with fourth-degree grand larceny, fourth-degree criminal possession of stolen property, third-degree unauthorized use of a vehicle and fourth-degree falsifying business records.”
If convicted each would face up to four years in prison.
Brown’s office stated that the thefts took place between October 2012 and February of this year.
In all cases, he said, members of the group allegedly presented a form from the DMV used when a car is at least eight years old, is worth less than $1,250 to a dismantler or scrap processor and no title is available.
An investigator with the DMV aided the NYPD in the case.
Police recovered 23 of the stolen vehicles, while eight others had been crushed and reduced to scrap.