A federal grand jury indicted a father and son from Richmond Hill for their roles in an armored car theft on Long Island last month in which they stole more than a half-million dollars in cash.
Federal prosecutors said that Raymond Soto Sr. and Raymond Soto Jr., along with Alexis Laguerra, worked together to carry out the Nov. 2 heist in Valley Stream. The FBI took Soto Sr. into custody on Dec. 21; his son, however, remains at large. Laguerra was previously picked up on a criminal complaint and released on bail.
According to U.S. Attorney Richard Donoghue, the entire caper was an inside job; Laguerra worked as a armored car driver at GardaWorld, and facilitated the truck’s theft on Nov. 2 while he was on duty.
“As alleged, Laguerra was a trusted employee of GardaWorld who used his knowledge of the armored car company’s operations to steal more than $500,000,” Donoghue said. “I commend our partners in the FBI and Nassau County Police Department for their work bringing the defendants to justice and proving once again that crime does not pay.”
At 2:22 a.m. on Nov. 2, law enforcement sources said, Laguerra and an unidentified GardaWorld employee were working a regular shift to empty ATM machines at bank branches and refill them with fresh money in amounts ranging between $99,800 to $275,000.
Federal prosecutors said that Laguerra pulled into a bank on Sunrise Highway in Valley Stream and, along with the unidentified employee, exited the armored car and entered the branch. That’s when the Sotos allegedly entered the armored car and drove away.
The Nassau County Police Department later located the unoccupied armored car under an overpass a few blocks away; detectives determined that $510,000 in cash had been stolen.
Through an investigation, detectives learned that Laguerra and the Sotos were all members of the Unknown Bikers Motorcycle Club, based in Brooklyn. Moreover, they found out that Laguerra and the junior Soto allegedly exchanged text messages setting up the theft, and later destroyed them to cover their tracks.
Law enforcement agents raided the Sotos’ residence on Dec. 21, finding $131,000 in cash, bundled in the same manner that GardaWorld packages its cash. Authorities also recovered from the home a gun, ammunition and quantities of marijuana and cocaine.
All three defendants were indicted for bank larceny; Laguerra and Soto Jr. were additional indicted on conspiracy to obstruct justice.
The senior Soto and Laguerra appeared in federal court on Dec. 21 for arraignment on the indictment. According to the U.S. Attorney’s office, Laguerra pleaded not guilty to the indictment; he remains out on $250,000 bail from his previous arrest on the criminal complaint. Soto Sr. also pleaded not guilty but was ordered held without bail.
If convicted, all three defendants face up to 10 years in federal prison; Laguerra and Soto Jr. could face another 20 years for the conspiracy to obstruct justice charge.