Authorities put the brakes on a group of alleged auto theft crewmembers who were indicted on charges Wednesday for stealing dozens of vehicles off the streets.
Queens District Attorney Richard A. Brown identified the two main members of the alleged theft ring as Queens residents Everald “Rambo” Ivey, 27, and Cashawn “CC” Lee, 31.
The two individuals, along with four others, were awaiting arraignment on Wednesday on a 71-count indictment variously charging them with grand larceny, criminal possession of stolen property, illegal possession of a vehicle identification number and conspiracy.
According to prosecutors, the five men and one woman are being charged for allegedly being part of an auto theft crew that stole about 27 vehicles of numerous makes, models and years.
The group focused on vehicles that are commonly used for street racing, authorities said, such as Hondas, Acuras, Nissans, Mitsubishis and Mazdas. In one instance, a Kawasaki motorcycle was also taken. All the vehicles and motorcycle were valued at about $200,000.
The theft ring allegedly focused their efforts on stealing vehicles from streets in Queens and also in New Jersey and Pennsylvania, prosecutors said. Some vehicles were allegedly taken based on requests from individuals or for one of the accused’s personal use.
To carry out what authorities called “their scheme,” once the individuals spotted a vehicle to their liking they would allegedly use Google Map’s drop pin feature on their smart phones to jot down the location.
The information would then be sent via text message to other members of the crew who would go later that night to steal the vehicle, according to authorities.
The vehicle would then be taken to a holding spot to determine if it was equipped with LoJack, authorities said. Once it was deemed safe, the vehicle would be taken to a secure location in Queens and stripped of valuable parts — which were listed for sale on Craigslist and other websites.
Other individuals facing the charges include Ajani “Dread” Nyabingi, 21 of Queens who allegedly stripped the valuable enhanced parts from vehicles and posted them for sale on the websites.
Favon Gohagon, 25, of Queens is alleged to also have been part of the auto theft crew; Shadika Haye, 25, of Queens allegedly allowed the crew to use her home to strip and dismantle the stolen vehicles; and Naquan Mandry, 26, of Brooklyn is also alleged to be part of the ring.
All six individuals face up to seven years in prison if convicted.
“The indictment is the result of a comprehensive 18-month-long investigation done in collaboration with the New York City Police Department’s Auto Crime Division and my Rackets Bureau,” Brown said. “For many people, ownership of an automobile might be their most expensive purchase and having that vehicle taken from them can be an extreme hardship.”
Brown added that the borough of Queens has seen a significant drop in car thefts in the past two decades, with about 52,000 vehicles stolen in 1991 to 2,200 in 2015.
“We remain committed to aggressively investigating and prosecuting those involved in this criminal conduct,” he said. “Those who make the mistake of setting up shop in Queens County will face serious felony charges and time behind bars.”