NYPD Busts Seven In Motorcycle Theft Ring

Seven men from Queens and Brooklyn have been indicted with grand larceny and conspiracy by a grand jury for their alleged theft of 11 motorcycles with an estimated value of $75,000, according to the Queens district attorney. 

The investigation leading to the arrests and indictments began in March 2016 and included the utilization of court-authorized wire taps of cell phone conversations, Queens DA Richard Brown said.

“The indictments are the result of a long-term joint investigation by the New York City Police Department’s Queens South Auto Larceny Unit, its Auto Crime and my office’s Auto Crime and Insurance Fraud Unit,” Brown said. “The defendants charged in this case are alleged to have worked together—and, sometimes, separately—stealing and then selling the snatched motorcycles on the black market.”

Five of the seven defendants indicted were arraigned on Tuesday before Queens Supreme Court Justice Charles Lopresto on nine separate indictments charging them with grand larceny, conspiracy and other charges. One defendant is in custody out of state and is pending extradition to New York and the last individual has yet to be apprehended.

Brown’s office stated in a release that defendant Craig Williams, of Brooklyn, was allegedly the ring’s location scout and get-away driver. He would check out desirable neighborhoods and pay attention to the activity of local police in those areas. The crew would allegedly commit driving infractions to draw out any police in the area.

They would allegedly hot wire or lift the motorcycles into a van to steal them. Motorcycles were stolen from the garages of private homes and apartment buildings. The thefts occurred in Queens, Manhattan, Brooklyn and Nassau County. 

In total, 11 motorcycles—including Yamahas, Hondas and a Suzuki—are alleged to have been stolen by members of the crew.

Hector Zamot, 31, of Queens, is charged with third-degree grand larceny, third-degree criminal possession of stolen property, illegal possession of a vehicle and fifth-degree conspiracy. His bail was set at $10,000 and he could face up to seven years in prison if convicted. Jose Rosa, 25, of Queens, was charged with third-degree burglary, third-degree grand larceny, third-degree criminal possession of stolen property and fifth-degree conspiracy. His bail was also set at $25,000 and he could face up to seven years in prison.

Craig Williams, 39, Ivan Santiago, 33, and Jonathan Santiago 31, all of whom are from Brooklyn, and Hector Gonazalez,32,  of Hazelton, Pennsylvania, all face up to seven years in prison if they are convicted.

Brown noted that his office has had great success in preventing auto thefts.

“As a result, in the 26 years since I became the district attorney, we have had a 96.4 percent drop in auto thefts,” he said. “We are committed to aggressively investigating and prosecuting such conduct in Queens County. Those who make the mistake of setting up shop here will face serious felony charges and prison sentences.”

–Jon Cronin

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