Howard Beach Man Lands In Jail for Steal-&- Scrap Scheme

Sold Stolen Old Cars To Junkyards

A Howard Beach Man has been charged with selling 12 stolen vehicles to Long Island junkyards where they were sold as scrap metal and expected to be crushed.

Queens District Attorney Richard A. Brown identified the defendant as John M. Brew, 35, of 95th Street, who was arraigned last Friday, May 2, before Queens Criminal Court Judge David M. Hawkins on a criminal complaint charging him with 12 counts of fourth-degree grand larceny, 12 counts of fourthdegree criminal possession of stolen property, 12 counts of first-degree falsifying business records and 12 counts of third-degree unauthorized use of a vehicle.

Brew, who faces up to four years in prison if convicted, was ordered held on $10,000 bail and to return to court on May 16.

Brown said, “As the price of scrap metal increases, thieves are growing more aggressive and taking advantage of a quirk in the law which allows them to dispose of vehicles eight years or older without proof of title. They simply show their driver’s license at the scrap yard, fill out a DMV form stating that they are the delivery agent or the vehicle’s owner and leave with cash in their pocket- and their victims without a ride.”

According to the criminal charges, Brew delivered a total of 12 vehicles to Universal Scrap Processes and Gershow Recycling facilities on Long Island between Feb. 4, and Apr. 7 for the purpose of having the vehicles crushed in exchanged for a sum of cash.

In each case, according to the criminal charges, Brew presented a New York State Department of Motor Vehicles Form MV-35 (which is used to transfer a vehicle at least eight model years old and worth less then $1,250 to a vehicle dismantler, itinerant vehicle collector or certified scrap processor when the owner does not have the title) signed by him and listing himself as the vehicle owner, along with a New York State driver’s license with his name and picture.

In many cases, it is alleged that the vehicle’s ignition was broken and the plastic keyholder was placed back into position and a bogus Ford key was placed into the ignition to make it look like Brew had the key. Brew was allegedly paid $600 to $750 per vehicle.

The 12 vehicles, which were reported stolen between February and April 2014, included two Dodge Caravans, model years 1993 and 1995, and 10 Ford Econoline Vans with the model years ranging from 1998 through 2006.

The investigation was conducted by the NYPD Auto Crime Division–specifically, Det. William Rein, Sgt. Joseph Ricotta, Lt. Christopher Gately, and Capt. Donald Boller, under the overall supervision of Chief Thomas P. Purtell, of the Organized Crime Control Bureau.

Assistant District Attorney Michelle Witten, of District Attorney Brown’s Rackets Bureau, is prosecuting the case under the supervision of Assistant District Attorneys Mary M. Lowenburg, Chief of the Auto Crime and Insurance Fraud Unit, Gerard A. Brave, rackets bureau chief, and Mark L. Katz, deputy bureau chief, and the overall supervision of Executive Assistant District Attorney for Investigations Peter A. Crusco and Deputy Executive Assistant District Attorney for Investigation Linda M. Cantoni.

It was noted that a criminal complaint is merely an accusation and that a defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty.