Three Queens men took a page out of Danny Ocean’s book and orchestrated an “elaborate ‘Ocean’s Eleven’ style plot” to rob a West Babylon warehouse of hundreds of thousands of dollars in merchandise, the Queens District Attorney’s Office said.
Christopher Tsang, 44, of College Point, Joe Lin, 40, of Flushing, and Chung Wei Wang, 38, of Oakland Gardens were the alleged masterminds behind the Long Island heist, DA Melinda Katz said Nov. 24.
“The alleged ring-leaders arrested yesterday met at illegal gambling parlors, a movie theater parking lot and other locations in Queens to plan the logistics of their heist,” DA Melinda Katz said in a statement. “As alleged, they used phony NYPD tactical gear, waved weapons and restrained warehouse workers before taking more than a hundred boxes of merchandise from the Suffolk County warehouse. The plot twist here — the heist flopped and the accused are facing prison time if convicted.”
According to Katz, the defendants were caught after the NYPD used surveillance, Court-authorized wiretaps and other investigative tools to uncover the plot as it was being planned beginning on July 1.
The three men allegedly met that night into the next morning at a reputed gambling parlor in Flushing. Tsang and Wang arrived together after hitting other gambling locations nearby near Cherry Avenue and 41st Road, Katz said.
The gang met again a week later with several other unidentified co-conspirators in a College Point movie theater parking lot. Tsang had the group gather around a physical scroll which he unrolled and referred to as he gave directions to members of the scheme, according to the DA.
According to the indictment, the 15-person group met more than a dozen times throughout early July in groups of varying sizes to flesh out their heist. The group would surveil the West Babylon warehouse on Route 109 from a nearby supermarket, would review photographs and called nearby shops to check hours of operations on the planned robbery date.
Katz said that on July 18 at 7 a.m., several defendants barged into the West Babylon warehouse wearing masks and NYPD-branded tactical clothing, brandishing what appeared to be firearms. They encountered two male workers, restrained them with zip ties and placed hoods over their heads. Two delivery workers at the scene were also restrained with zip ties, the indictment said.
The defendants then allegedly removed about 100 boxes from the warehouse, placed them into the unmarked trucks and vans and left the scene. The DA’s office did not say what the boxes contained.
Police executed their court-authorized search warrants to check the homes of Tsang, Wang and Lin on Nov. 23.
An imitation pistol, an inoperable firearm and approximately $8,500 in cash was found at Tsang’s College Point home. Police allegedly seized up to 100 pounds of marijuana and roughly $50,000 in cash from Lin’s Flushing home.
An unloaded .22-caliber firearm, eight Tasers that resembled imitation pistols, zip ties and about $120,000 in cash were recovered in Wang’s Oakland Gardens home, along with various police-like paraphernalia, such as hats, shirts, badges and vests.
The three men were arraigned in court the next day on a 10-count indictment. They face charges of second-degree burglary, first-degree and second-degree robbery and fourth-degree conspiracy.
They will return to court Jan. 10.