Five individuals, four of them tow truck drivers, have been arrested for allegedly stealing 21 cars from the streets of Queens and elsewhere and having them crushed at a Jamaica junk yard tied to the Gambino crime family.
The company, A&J Scrap Metal Processing, is located at 95-45 Tuckerton St. in Jamaica — a parcel owned until last year by mobster Carmine Agnello and now held in part by a company headed by his ex-wife, Victoria Gotti, daughter of late Gambino godfather John Gotti.
The defendants are Lawrence Bellino, 37, of 91st Street in Howard Beach; Jonathan Colon, 35, of Parsons Boulevard in Flushing; Michael Olivio, 42, of 110th Street in Richmond Hill; Francisco Adames, 40, of Elinor Place in Freeport, LI; and LePaul Gammons, of Route 23A in upstate Catskill.
They are charged with fourth-degree criminal possession of stolen property, third-degree unauthorized use of a vehicle, and second-degree offering a false instrument for filing. The only defendant who is not a tow truck driver, Gammons, allegedly teamed up with Olivio to perpetrate the crimes.
Gammons — who was recently shot by the mayor’s security guards in a fight over a woman —is also charged with fourth-degree grand larceny. If convicted, the defendants each face up to four years in prison.
The men allegedly sold the vehicles for scrap, receiving $200 to $400 for each one. The thefts took place between May and October 2010, and the Queens District Attorney’s Office put four months into the investigation.
Stolen were some economy cars like a Dodge Neon and a Honda Civic, and a number of vans — both full size and minivans, including three Ford Econolines. Four tow trucks were also seized during the probe.
In all cases, the defendants allegedly utilized state DMV forms used to transfer vehicles which are at least eight years old and worth less than $1,250, to a dismantler or certified scrap processor, when the owner does not have the title. The individual listed themselves as the delivery agents or, in some cases, also as a car’s owner.
Queens District Attorney Richard Brown said the ability to have cars destroyed using such documents enabled the defendants.
“As the price of scrap metal increases, thieves are growing more aggressive and taking advantage of a quirk in the law in which they can dispose of vehicles eight years or older without proof of title,” Brown said in a statement.