It appeared too good to be true: choose a car, place an order and have your vehicle delivered to you within the United States or overseas in weeks. The only problem with this service, was that it was all run by a highly organized international car theft ring, according to New York State Attorney General Andrew Cuomo.
According to the attorney general, prospective illegal car buyers were even able to flip through a catalog and solicit the crime ring to find and steal the vehicle of their dreams.
“The Bronx-based operation stole hundreds of vehicles from New York City, New Jersey, and Connecticut and sold them in New York, New Jersey, Georgia, and Texas, or shipped them in containers to Senegal,” Cuomo said.
Surveillance video for “Operation Trans Atlantic” even caught the crime ring loading the stolen cars into crates to be shipped to Africa. The ring was comprised of 17 individuals ranging from exporters, brokers, a garage attendant and even two Toyota dealership employees, officials said.
According to the indictment, orders would be placed specifying exact models, years, colors and even accessory packages. Ring members would then “fill the orders” by stealing those exact cars.
The joint investigation was conducted by the State Attorney General and included the New York State Police and the New York City Police Department.