A Far Rockaway man was sentenced for running a van theft ring where he stole, stripped and resold parts from more than a dozen vans in Queens and Nassaus Counties, prosecutors announced Wednesday.
Chukuweike Emeni, also known as Emzie Snipes, 36, pleaded guilty to third-degree grand larceny and third-degree insurance fraud earlier this month. He was sentenced to two concurrent terms of two to four years in prison.
“The defendant in this case brazenly swiped several vehicles from the streets of Queens and Nassau Counties, sold the vehicles’ parts to unsuspecting customers and even orchestrated fake crashes in order to cheat insurance companies out of thousand of dollars,” said acting District Attorney John M. Ryan. “Today’s sentencing concludes a lengthy scheme hatched by the defendant in an attempt to line his pockets through the sale of ill-gotten car parts and staged collisions.”
According to charges, between July 2017 and February 2018, Emeni and apprehended others stole Econoline vans from the streets and driveways of homes in Little Neck, East Elmhurst, Jackson Heights and Kew Gardens. The operation ultimately crossed into Nassau County, where they targeted several neighborhoods in Freeport, Rockville Centre and Long Beach.
Once they had the vans, Emeni stripped the vehicles of their bumpers, tail lights, side panels, seats and as well as other items. Emeni then arranged for the stolen parts to be sold to prospective buyers. Prices for the parts were set at $100 for each seat, $70 each for batteries sold and radios for $120. Emeni also sold four tires to an unsuspecting buyer for $350.
According to a separate indictment, between November 2017 to January 2019 Emeni and two other apprehended defendants staged several fake car crashes in Queens and filed fraudulent insurance claims to collect money for injuries.