Four men in their 20s, a part of a “theft ring”, were charged with stealing millions of dollars in property and merchandise around Connecticut and other states in the Northeast, a superseding indictment that was unsealed Tuesday afternoon said.
Josepher Y. Cartagena, 25, Alexander J. Santiago, 26, Douglas Noble, 27, and Justin J. Herrera, 21, burglarized car dealerships, cellphone stores and ATMs around the state, police said. They all are charged with conspiracy to possess and transport stolen vehicles and property and multiple counts of transportation of a stolen vehicle, possession of a stolen vehicle, transportation of stolen property and possession of stolen property.
“From dealerships, they stole vehicle key fobs and vehicles; from mobile phone stores, they stole cellphones, electronics and other merchandise; from check-cashing businesses, they stole ATMs,” investigators said. “They then transported the stolen property back to New York, often escaping from police by engaging the police in high-speed chases, which the police must terminate for safety reasons.”
Police first tried to arrest Cartagena in late December, but he was able to escape after hitting multiple FBI vehicles with a stolen car. He was later arrested after an all-day search, investigators said. Upon executing a search warrant, police found hundreds of thousands of dollars in stolen merchandise, $89,000 in cash, more than 30 car key fobs, license plates and 9mm ammunition.
Santiago was arrested in January after a search found 20 new cellphones, around 40 key fobs, two firearms with a “substantial amount of ammunition” and a police radio, investigators said.
Herrera was arrested on March 10, in Florida, and Noble turned himself into police Monday.
The four men face a maximum jail term of five years for the conspiracy charge and maximum term of 10 years per count of possession of stolen property and transportation charges, investigators said. Members of the theft ring have committed over 130 burglaries, they suspect.
Cartagena and Santiago are still detained while Herrera and Noble are free on bond.
Jessika Harkay can be reached at email@example.com.