May 16, 2022

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Attorney General James and NYPD Commissioner Shea Take Down Auto Theft Ring Linked to Theft of Over 225 Vehicles

10 Individuals Indicted for Roles in Theft and Resale of Vehicles in NYC and Westchester

NEW YORK – New York Attorney Typical Letitia James and New York Police Office (NYPD) Commissioner Dermot Shea currently announced the indictment of 10 members of an automobile theft and distribution procedure for their roles in the theft and/or criminal possession of 45 automobiles in the course of a six-thirty day period period of time and their roles associated to the theft and resale of additional than 225 autos all through New York Metropolis and Westchester. The 303-depend indictment is a consequence of a two-calendar year joint investigation by the Office of the Attorney General’s Structured Criminal offense Activity Force (OCTF) and the NYPD’s Vehicle Crime Division.

“For two decades, these people have fueled fear in our communities and taken some of peoples’ most precious belongings,” reported Legal professional Common James. “During the pandemic, they moved this procedure into superior equipment, using advantage of New Yorkers’ staying at house to allegedly thieving much more than 45 cars in six months. We fatigued each individual avenue to track down these burglars, and, right now, we send out a loud and apparent message that we will not stand idly by as New Yorkers are burglarized. New Yorkers deserve to sense protected in their neighborhoods, and we thank the NYPD for their partnership and support in this effort.”

“This was a elaborate, significant-tech operation that sought to weaponize each and every concealed vulnerability in the automotive industry from generating keys primarily based on bootleg code lists to altering personal computer options to developing a mill that furnished untrue registrations for altered VIN figures,” said NYPD Commissioner Shea. “Being an procedure that by no means skipped a probability to exploit vulnerability, it also turned up the volume of thefts during the pandemic, figuring out that individuals had been homebound or sick. I want to thank the investigators from the NYPD’s Vehicle Crime Division, as perfectly as the prosecutors from the Place of work of the Legal professional General’s Structured Crime Endeavor Drive for recognizing the seriousness and complexity of this circumstance and building a sound prosecution.”

The investigation — dubbed “Operation Learn Essential,” thanks to the means of the theft crews to develop keys to gain access to vehicles — revealed car theft crew customers Norberto Pena Brito, Jose Lebron Pimentel, Edwin Hidalgo Estevez, Dariberto Fernandez Perez, and Hector Rivera ended up responsible for locating, thieving, altering, and reselling stolen autos throughout New York City and Westchester.

From April 2020 to Oct 2020 — for the duration of the months the point out was shut down because of to the pandemic and New Yorkers stayed at residence and parked their vehicles for times at a time — this crew scoped out and qualified cars and trucks to steal, obtained important code info for these cars from unlawful web sites, and made keys that authorized them to breach and steal the motor vehicles. After within of the automobile, they reprogrammed the vehicle’s pc technique to get manage of the motor vehicle, disable alarms, and begin the motor. In a make any difference of minutes, the theft crew was equipped to steal a automobile with out sounding alarms or drawing any focus, even in a dense urban placing. The theft crew was also able to reprogram the car or truck to prevent recognizing the genuine owners’ electronic keys, so that the owners’ keys stopped operating. 

Members of this business then transported the autos back to a single of several plenty found in the Bronx, exactly where the motor vehicles were altered and the auto identification figures (VINs) ended up changed in buy to give the stolen autos a new identification. Jesus Cabral was employed to remove and change windshields and to improve car or truck VINs assigned by the maker. At periods, Norberto Pena Brito and Jose Lebron Pimentel would also invest in stolen cars and trucks from Carlos Valverde. Later on, crew users offered the stolen autos to their customers, such as to Willy Abreu Martinez and Abdul Khan, who ended up two of the high-quantity clients acquiring the stolen autos for resale in the United States and in the Dominican Republic. Leticia Saldivar — the proprietor and operator of Carmela’s Multiservice and Automobile Tag in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania — was recruited to receive, manage, and file fictitious motor vehicle paperwork with the Pennsylvania Office of Transportation, and acquired thoroughly clean registrations and titles for stolen automobiles. 

This joint investigation provided hundreds of hrs of physical and covert surveillance, court-approved wiretapping of quite a few qualified phones, execution of search warrants, and the restoration of surveillance online video capturing the thefts of a lot of cars.

The 303-depend indictment — unsealed currently in Bronx County Condition Supreme Court — fees the 10 persons with many counts of Legal Possession of Stolen Home in the Second and 3rd Degrees (Class C and D felonies), Grand Larceny in the Third Degree (Class D felony), Presenting a False Instrument for Filing in the Initially Degree (Class E felony), Criminal Possession of a Forged Instrument in the 2nd Diploma (Class D felony), Conspiracy in the Fourth and Fifth Degrees (Class E felony and Course A Misdemeanor), and relevant costs for conspiring to steal, possess, and sell 45 stolen automobiles, and also conspiring to register stolen automobiles in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania by filing cast automobile files.

If convicted, defendants Carlos Valverde and Leticia Saldivar every single deal with a highest of 7 yrs of prison. The remaining defendants encounter a optimum of 15 many years in jail.

These billed in today’s unsealed indictment include:

NORBERTO PENA BRITO – 35 years outdated, Bronx, NY
JOSE LEBRON PIMENTEL – 39 years aged, Bronx, NY
EDWIN HIDALGO ESTEVEZ – 31 many years outdated, Bronx, NY
DARIBERTO FERNANDEZ PEREZ – 30 several years aged, Bronx, NY
HECTOR RIVERA – 52 years old, Bronx, NY
JESUS CABRAL – 55 yrs old, Waterbury, CT
WILLY ABREU MARTINEZ – 39 yrs old, Bronx, NY
ABDUL KHAN – 35 many years previous, Bronx, NY
CARLOS VALVERDE – 33 several years aged, Bronx, NY
LETICIA SALDIVAR – 37 years old, Waterford Is effective, NJ

The rates versus the defendants are basically accusations and the defendants are presumed harmless except and until finally proven guilty.

The rates in the indictment are the consequence of a joint investigation by the OAG’s OCTF and the NYPD’s Automobile Criminal offense Division. The OAG would like to thank the Yonkers Law enforcement Department the Pennsylvania State Law enforcement the Law enforcement Office for the Town of Studying Pennsylvania the Bureau of Law enforcement for the City of Lancaster, Pennsylvania the Massachusetts Condition Police the New Jersey Point out Law enforcement the Miami-Dade Metro Law enforcement Department U.S. Customs and Border Safety U.S. Division of Homeland Stability Investigations U.S. Marshals New York/New Jersey Regional Fugitive Activity Drive the Vermont Division of Motor Autos the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation the New York Office of Motor Automobiles the National Insurance Crime Bureau and the Nationwide Automotive Services Activity Force for their worthwhile participation in this investigation.

The investigation was jointly led by NYPD Auto Criminal offense Division Detective Daniel Fox and OAG OCTF Detective David Walsh. Detective Fox is under the supervision of Lieutenant Jorge Rodriguez and the overall supervision of Deputy Inspector Robert LaPollo. Detective Walsh is under the supervision of Supervising Detective Bradford Miller and the overall supervision of Deputy Main John McManus of the OAG’s Investigations Bureau. The OAG’s Investigations Bureau is led by Chief Investigator Oliver Pu-Folks.

The case is currently being prosecuted by OAG OCTF Assistant Deputy Lawyer Normal Ann Lee, with the aid of Legal Help Analyst Stephanie Tirado — both less than the supervision of Downstate OCTF Deputy Main Lauren Abinanti. Exclusive many thanks to Assistant Deputy Lawyer Typical Caitlin Carroll and previous Particular Counsel Shanon LaCorte. Nicole Keary is the Deputy Attorney General in Demand of OCTF. The two the Investigations Bureau and OCTF are aspect of the Division for Criminal Justice. The Division for Legal Justice is led by Chief Deputy Lawyer Common José Maldonado and overseen by 1st Deputy Attorney Common Jennifer Levy.