Ten people have been indicted on 82 counts in an alleged auto theft ring that targeted four well-known Queens auto dealerships, according to District Attorney Richard Brown.
The suspects are accused of stealing vehicles from the four dealerships in Queens and one more in Brooklyn over the course of three months and allegedly selling one of the cars to a defendant who planned to send it overseas on a container ship.
The 10 suspects — seven from Brooklyn and three from Queens — were indicted May 8 on various charges including third- and forth-degree grand larceny; third- and fourth-degree criminal possession of stolen property; first-degree unauthorized use of a vehicle and fifth-degree conspiracy.
The three suspects from Queens include Luis Guzman, 33, of Ridgewood; Eduardo Rodriguez, 37, and Joshua Vasquez, 25, both of South Ozone Park. The other suspects are Robinson Santiago, Jose Trinidad, Luis DeJesus, Curtis Outlaw, Frederick Akinsehin, Eddie Rodriguez and Nilo Blanco, all residents of Brooklyn.
The suspects are accused of stealing cars from various dealerships in Queens and Brooklyn, including a 2012 Nissan Altima, stolen from Major Auto World on Northern Boulevard in Long Island City on Dec. 3, 2011.
The suspects also allegedly heisted a 2012 Honda Accord from Hillside Honda on Hillside Avenue in Jamaica in broad daylight on Jan. 30, 2012.
Queensboro Toyota and Paragon Honda, both on Northern Boulevard in Woodside, were hit with multiple auto thefts, allegedly committed by the ring, between Dec. 5, 2011 and Feb. 27. 2012. A dealership in Brooklyn and a privately-owned vehicle were also allegedly targeted.
In one case, the defendants allegedly planned to load the car stolen from Major Auto World onto a ship to be transported overseas. Investigators discovered the plot after placing a GPS in the stolen car while it was parked on a Brooklyn street, and tracked the car to a shipping terminal in Staten Island.
Six of the defendants — Guzman, Rodriguez, Rodriguez, Vasquez, Blanco and Outlaw — were arrested and arraigned before a judge in Kew Gardens. DeJesus is in custody in Florida and is to be extradited to New York. Akinsehin, Santiago and Trinidad are not in custody and Helen Peterson, a spokeswoman for Brown, said Akinsehin is known to be out of the country.
Brown said the bust is part of a successful two-decade long effort to combat car thefts in the borough, which reached almost epidemic levels in the early 1990s.
“Rampant car theft in Queens is a thing of the past and this case is a prime example of how we intend to keep it that way,” said Brown. “Since I took office in 1991 – when an astounding 50,000 cars a year were reported stolen in Queens – the incidence of auto theft has dropped to fewer than 3,000 cars a year being reported stolen in Queens. Operations like the one being announced today in conjunction with the New York State Police are effective measures to ward off auto theft.”