2012-09-12 / Features

Three Charged With Selling 32 Stolen Vehicles For Scrap

Queens District Attorney Richard A. Brown announced that two men and a woman have been charged with taking thirty-two vehicles that had been stolen off the streets of Queens County and elsewhere to a Queens, scrap yard where they were to be sold as scrap metal and crushed. Most of the  vehicles were Ford Econoline vans for which the defendants were allegedly paid $600 to $700 per vehicle.

Brown said, “These defendants are accused of taking advantage of a quirk in the law in which individuals can dispose of vehicles that are 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. They allegedly walk away with hundreds of dollars for each vehicle that is crushed, leaving the true vehicle owners –  many of whom depended on their cars for work –  without wheels.”
The district attorney identified the defendants as Jose Montenegro, 27, and Jennifer Avila, 26, of 280 Autumn Avenue in Brooklyn, and Pedro Lopez, 20, of 95-14 Jamaica Avenue in Queens.  The three defendants, who are presently awaiting arraignment in Queens Criminal Court, are variously charged with fourth-degree grand larceny,  fourth-degree criminal possession of stolen property, third-degree unauthorized use of a vehicle and first-degree falsifying business records.  If convicted, they each face up to four years in prison.
District Attorney Brown said that, according to the criminal charges, the defendants delivered a total of thirty-two vehicles to a Queens scrap yard  between April 2012 and August 2012.  In all cases, it is alleged that the defendants 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 $1250 to a vehicle dismantler, itinerant vehicle collector or certified scrap processor when the owner does not have the title) listing themselves as the vehicle owner. The defendants were allegedly paid between $600 and $700 per van.  Eleven of the vehicles were then crushed and reduced to scrap metal; police recovered 21 of the stolen vehicles before they were crushed.  

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