Attorney General Letitia James announced the arrest of a motorcycle theft and distribution operation in New York City on Wednesday.
After an investigation that worked closely with the Queens District Attorney’s office, James charged the 11-member ring with 187 crimes related to the theft of 43 motorcycles in Brooklyn, Manhattan, Queens and the Bronx during a six-month period from November 2018 to May 2019.
One of the members of the alleged ring, 22-year-old Ozone Park resident Tiahra Jones, aka Tia, is the youngest member of the crew.
“The joyride is over for this group,” said James. “For months, these individuals allegedly stole dozens of motorcycles from unsuspecting New Yorkers and then dismantled them for profit or resold them to customers who knowingly purchased stolen goods.”
Kings County Supreme Court Judge Danny Chun charged the 11 defendants with numerous counts of criminal possession of stolen property in the third and fourth degrees, grand larceny in the third and fourth degrees, unauthorized use of a motor vehicle, auto stripping and conspiracy in the fifth degree, among other charges, for conspiring to steal, possess and sell 43 stolen motorcycles and one stolen GMC Savana van, valued at a total of over $280,000.
The investigation culled hundreds of hours of covert observation, wiretapping on target phones, the findings of search warrants and surveillance footage. Through listening and watching the footage, the investigators said that they began to decipher the alleged conspirators’ slang, such as “busting a move” for stealing a bike, “chopping it up” for dismantling parts and “stamping” for altering a vehicle identification number.
If convicted, each of the defendants faces a maximum of seven years in prison.
The investigation began in the Queens District Attorney’s office before it was ultimately cultivated and completed by the Attorney General’s Organized Crime Task Force (OCTF) and the New York City Police Department’s Auto Crime Division.
“Over the course of an ongoing investigation, my office’s Organized Crime and Rackets Bureau developed information of crimes that extended beyond the borders of Queens County,” said acting Queens District Attorney John M. Ryan.