Tag Archives: ring

17 indicted following Queens auto theft ring bust

| ctumola@queenscourier.com


A two-and-a-half-year investigation resulted in charges for 17 individuals involved in a major Queens-based auto theft and “title washing” ring, where high-end vehicles were swiped off city streets and even from dealerships, officials announced Thursday.

“The ring’s members were purportedly highly organized and fast,” Queens District Attorney Richard Brown said. “It is alleged that a main ‘steal’ crew would canvas neighborhoods for luxury vehicles to steal and, once a vehicle was found, obtain the vehicle’s VIN, which was then used to make a duplicate key for the vehicle. Armed with the new key, the vehicle was then allegedly stolen — the whole process taking only a few hours. In some cases, crew members allegedly stole vehicles ‘to order.’”

In a 128-count indictment, eight of the defendants have been charged, among other crimes, with enterprise corruption under New York State’s Organized Crime Control Act and are accused of stealing more than 80 automobiles, prosecutors said.

The investigation, by the NYPD’s Auto Crime Division and the district attorney’s office’s Organized Crime and Rackets Bureau, found that those vehicles included pricey GMC Yukon Denalis, BMWs, Range Rovers and Mercedes-Benzes – stolen from Queens and elsewhere between February 22, 2013, and November 29, 2014.

The defendants, such as Franklyn Gutierrez, 33, of Sutter Avenue in Brooklyn, allegedly worked with a main theft crew – including Miguel (“Fello”) Maldonado, 34, of 77th Street in Woodhaven, Ariel Rodriguez, 28, of Highland Place in Brooklyn, German Garcia, 44, of Decatur Street in Brooklyn, and William (“Bori”) Cruz, 32, of Melrose Street in Brooklyn – that took high-end, newer vehicles off New York City streets and from dealerships and sometimes even stole vehicles “to order,” prosecutors said.

After crew members would find a vehicle, they would allegedly acquire the VIN and then take the number to a locksmith to create a key. The crew member would then use the key to drive the car to a location in Queens, where forged documents were created to conceal the vehicle’s true identity. A broker would then allegedly resell the vehicle. Many of the stolen vehicles were allegedly transported across the country, as well as around the world, including as far away as Nigeria and the Dominican Republic.

The indictments additionally charge defendants Onnie (“Sha”) Canady, 52, of 32nd Avenue in East Elmhurst, with being a middleman for stolen car buyers; Henry (“Charlie”) Morrel, 30, of Ridgewood Avenue, in Brooklyn, for having created the forged documents; and Edward (“Chapa”) Gomez, 39, of 100th Avenue in Hollis, as being the alleged black market broker who resold the stolen vehicles.

According to the district attorney’s office, earlier this week, police executed a search warrant at the home of Gomez, where many of the vehicles were taken as part of the operation, and allegedly recovered three kilos of cocaine, one kilo of heroin, a scale and $2,000 in cash.

Luis Ramos, 43, of 49th Street in Brooklyn; Santiago (“C-Lo”) Robinson, 34, of Shore Front in Arverne, Mayovanex Pena-Ortega, 26, of 34 Jerome Street in Brooklyn, Joel Urena, 34, of Beach 40th Street in Far Rockaway; Angel Acosta, 30, of 117th Street in the Richmond Hill; Edgar Rodriguez, 36, of Florida; Luis DeJesus, 32, of Hancock Street in Brooklyn; Angel Batista, 34, of Yonkers; and Walden Clarke, 37, of East 53rd Street in Brooklyn have also been indicted for their alleged participation in the ring. They each face up to seven years in prison if convicted, while the remaining defendants face up to 25 years.

Most of the defendants have been arraigned as of Wednesday, according to the district attorney’s office, but Robinson, Acosta and Rodriguez are currently being sought.


‘Bomb’ botch at LaGuardia

| jlane@queenscourier.com

Graphic by Jay Lane

‘Bomb’ botch at LaGuardia

Clueless TSA agents found two possible pipe bombs in a passenger’s luggage yesterday at La Guardia Airport — and kept them in a public area for six hours without notifying cops, The Post has learned. The Transportation Security Administration bozos at one point left the pipes — which eventually turned out to be harmless — resting on a radiator as hundreds of fliers passed through security nearby, sources said. “Six hours to report a potential bomb? It’s outrageous,” one Port Authority police official fumed. Read More: New York Post


Eli can become ring-leader in Peyton’s back yard

This isn’t Peyton’s Place so much as it is Eli’s Place. The place where he can become the first New York quarterback to win two Super Bowls. The place where he can become the first Manning to win two Super Bowls. The place for Histor-E. It is so much different for Eli Manning now than it was four years ago. He is no longer the Other Manning. And he is no longer the Other Quarterback in the Super Bowl, even though the Patriots’ Tom Brady is once again the other quarterback for the other team. Read More: New York Post


Jailmate sues Lillo in prison ‘assault’

TV tough guy Lillo Brancato just can’t stay out of trouble. A fellow inmate has filed a lawsuit against the hot-tempered “Sopranos” actor for a vicious beatdown he suffered when Brancato allegedly attacked him for talking on a prison phone. Small-time thief Alvaro Hernandez, 40, filed the suit in Queens Supreme Court seeking unspecified damages for injuries he suffered last Jan. 26 in a common room at now-closed Oneida Correctional Facility in Rome, NY. Hernandez was on the phone chatting with his wife, Barbie Hernandez, when an enraged Brancato, 35, demanded that he hang up. Read More: New York Post


Auburndale Atrocity

Contrasted against a sea of well-kept homes and pristinely-manicured lawns in Auburndale looms an abandoned property – a massive four-unit building left destitute, much to the dismay of locals who take pride in their neighborhood. The structure, located at 47th Avenue and 198th Street, once a single-family home, was converted into four separate houses by a self-certified builder roughly 10 years ago. Read More: Queens Courier


Rego Park resident competes as ‘worst’ on Food Network

Richard Allen Chen’s girlfriend concludes that he is the absolute worst cook in America, gagging and cringing when forced to consume his culinary creations. And she might be right. Chen, an attorney and resident of Rego Park, was selected to compete on Food Network’s “Worst Cooks in America,” a program that pits 16 of the country’s most hopeless chefs against each other, overcoming gastronomic obstacles and dishing out some (hopefully) decent grub. The contestant crowned the best of the worst chefs walks away with $25,000. Read More: Queens Courier


Developers Hope To Revitalize Rockaways Courthouse

For decades, residents living next to an old courthouse in the Rockaways have listened to many proposals to rehabilitate the site, but locals hope the latest push is more than just talk. Watch the Video: NY1

Queens man kills wife in front of daughter

| jlane@queenscourier.com

Graphic by Jay Lane

Queens man kills wife in front of daughter

A Queens man fatally slit his estranged wife’s throat in front of her terrified young daughter — and was nabbed after cops tracked his bloody trail for three blocks, law-enforcement sources said today. “My stepfather stabbed my mom,” the stricken 9-year-old daughter of victim Diane Sharma told cops at their home on 117th Street in Jamaica. Sources said Sharma, a 32-year-old mother of three whose two younger children also were at home at the time, had had an order of protection against her Ukrainian husband. The man, who was not immediately identified, had been arrested Sept. 2 for allegedly assaulting and choking his wife, who then took out the restraint against him. Read More: New York Post

Perv pol lands Queens lobbyist gig

Disgraced ex-Councilman Dennis Gallagher now works with a Queens consultant who’s under attack for trying to strong-arm GOP candidates into hiring him, The Post has learned. Gallagher, who stepped down in 2008 after pleading guilty to sexual-abuse charges stemming from accusations that he raped a woman in his Middle Village office, is listed on a city government database as an “additional lobbyist” with GSP Consulting, a Sunnyside-based firm run by Jay Golub, a dentist. Gallagher, a Republican, confirmed that he does consulting work with Golub and that he’s done consulting for Councilman Peter Koo (R-Queens) but said he hasn’t done any work for Republicans in Queens “on a paid basis.” Read More: New York Post

Gas kills 2 in Queens

A man and his father were found dead from an apparent carbon monoxide poisoning at their Queens home yesterday. Aaron Chen, 29, and Kuo-Kuang Chen, 66, were found at their home on 101st Avenue in Ozone Park after the father didn’t show up to babysit his 12-year-old granddaughter. “He doted on her,” said his daughter, Marien Chen. Fearing the worst, she went to their house to check on them. “I crawled through the window. I was thinking, ‘please let them be OK.’ “My father was in his bed and my brother was lying on the floor. It looked like he was trying to get out,” Chen, 33, said. Read More: New York Post

Vallone Helps Astoria Clean Up Its Own “Flatiron Building”

A Queens lawmaker is behind an effort to spruce up the borough’s mini version of the Flatiron Building. Sitting at the intersection of Astoria Boulevard, 21st Street and 27th Avenue, historians say the triangle-shaped building was once the commercial center of Astoria. In recent years, the century-old neighborhood landmark had fallen into disrepair and been covered with graffiti. Last summer, Queens Councilman Peter Vallone Jr. started working with the NYPD and the New Hampshire owners of the building to wipe away the graffiti and repaint the property. Read More: NY1

Dead Body Discovered On Queens Beach

Police are investigating after a body was found on a Queens beach. Officers were called to the shoreline near Beach 17th Street in Far Rockaway just before 8 a.m. Saturday. When the officers arrived, they found a woman unconscious and unresponsive. She was pronounced dead at the scene. Officials say it appears the woman was in her 40s. Read More: NY1

TSA Collected Nearly $47,000 In Loose Change At JFK In 2011

The Transportation Security Administration is raking in some pretty pennies. TSA officials say agents collected more than $409,000 in loose change left by airline passengers last year. John F. Kennedy International Airport netted the most amount of money with nearly $47,000 left behind. TSA officials say says most of the money comes from people rushing through security or foreign travelers who don’t want to take it home with them. Read More: NY1

Cruise ship disaster death toll hits 6; Captain blamed for ‘judgment errors’ in Costa Concordia tragedy

The captain of the capsized Costa Concordia “seems to have made judgment errors with grave consequences,” the owners of the boat said Sunday — and prosecutors say he may purposely have sailed close to shore to greet a friend with a blast of the ship’s horn. Captain Francesco Schettino drove the 10-story ship into the rocky Tuscan island of Giglio, ripping a catastrophic 160-foot gash in its hull that sent the boat tumbling onto its side. At least six people were killed. “There was someone in particular that wanted to be signalled from the ship,” said prosecutor Franco Verusio. “We are looking into the possible responsibility of other people in this hazardous maneuver,” he told Italian TV. Read More: Daily News

City heroin ring smashed by arrests after yearlong probe, authorities say

Well-to-do suburbanites turned the Long Island Expressway into “Heroin Highway,” copping highs at bargain prices from pushers in Brooklyn and Queens, prosecutors said Friday. A yearlong investigation led to the arrest over the past week of eight alleged members of a drug ring who arranged for the sale of high-quality South American heroin at hotels, diners and electronic stores in Brooklyn and Queens, authorities said. More than 120 other suspects — most from eastern Long Island — have been nabbed over the past year traveling into the city to buy up heroin at a discount. All the buyers used the drug themselves, and some also resold the smack to pals, authorities said. Read More: Daily News