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Four men were indicted on charges they stole $800,000 in luxury cars from owners in wealthy residential towns including Holmdel, Livingston and Morristown and later sold the vehicles.
Siblings Kelvin Vega, 25, and Jonathan Vega, 24, both of Newark, were named in the indictment, along with Carlos Sanchez Jr., 18, and Bilal Cureton, 27, both also from Newark, according to a statement from the Office of the New Jersey Attorney General.
The group allegedly roamed well-to-do residential areas and looked for high-end cars, “typically stealing them right from their owners’ driveways,” Attorney General Christopher Porrino said in a statement.
A state grand jury handed up the indictment to Mercer County Superior Court Judge Peter E. Warshaw. The indictment charged each with second-degree counts of conspiracy, financial facilitation of criminal activity, fencing, receiving stolen property, theft by unlawful taking and third-degree burglary.
Cureton was additionally charged with third-degree attempted theft by unlawful taking. After receiving the indictment, Warshaw assigned the case to Morris County, where the men will have to appear at a later date for their arraignment.
The men are accused of of stealing luxury models including Mercedes-Benz, BMW and Bentley and then dropping off the cars at “cool off” spots.
“Cool off” spots refer to areas where cars would be parked until it appeared the vehicles were not equipped with tracking devices that would tip off law enforcement, according to the officials.
“After a vehicle was sufficiently ‘cooled,’ it was moved to a loading location, usually in Irvington, to be shipped, or was fenced domestically,” according to the statement.
Authorities recovered several cars from shipping containers that had not yet made it onto cargo vessels, according to the statement. The men were linked to the alleged theft of at least 14 cars, with a value around $800,000.
Cars were stolen from Morristown, Long Hill, Jamesburg, Holmdel, Livingston, Closter, Princeton and Mahwah, the statement said.
“One stolen Mercedes S550 was traced to Louisiana, where Kelvin Vega allegedly was found in possession of that car and a second stolen Mercedes S550,” according to the statement. “Other stolen cars were recovered in Maryland and Ohio.”
Convictions for the second-degree charges carry a five- to 10-year sentence in state prison and a maximum fine of $150,000. The third-degree charges levy a three- to five-year sentence and a fine of up to $15,000.
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