Photo Courtesy of AG James’s Office
“The joyride is over for this group,” State Attorney General James quipped.
By Forum Staff
Eleven members of a prolific motorcycle theft and distribution operation have been arrested and indicted, State Attorney General Tish James recently announced.
The suspects, which include a borough resident, have been charged on a 187-count indictment related to the theft of 43 bikes in Queens, Brooklyn, Manhattan, and The Bronx during a six-month period from November 2018 to May 2019.
The indictment unsealed last Wednesday in Kings County Supreme Court charges the 11 defendants with numerous counts of third- and fourth-degree criminal possession of stolen property, third- and fourth-degree grand larceny, unauthorized use of a motor vehicle, auto stripping, and fifth-degree conspiracy, among other offenses, for conspiring to steal, possess, and sell 43 stolen motorcycles and one stolen GMC Savana van, valued at a total of more than $280,000.
According to James, the investigation revealed motorcycle theft crew members Patrick Bull, 33; Tiahra Jones, 22, of Queens; Lumas Laens, 36; Kaon Murray, 29; Dimitri Ortiz, 26; and Jose Rivera III, 32, allegedly were responsible for locating, stealing, dismantling, and reselling stolen motorcycles throughout the five boroughs. After stealing these motorcycles, the theft crew members transported the motorcycles back to a garage located in Brooklyn, where the bikes were either dismantled and sold for parts or disguised and sold whole to customers who knowingly purchased stolen goods, allegedly including Jennar Battieste, 38; Dillan Budhoo, 27; Trevor Davis, 32; Lewis Moran, 41; and Stanley Webb, 43.
James noted that the joint investigation, which originated with the Queens District Attorney’s Office and was ultimately cultivated and completed by the AG’s Organized Crime Task Force and the NYPD Auto Crime Division, included hundreds of hours of physical and covert surveillance, court-authorized wiretapping of numerous target phones, execution of search warrants, and the recovery of dozens of hours of surveillance video capturing the thefts of numerous motorcycles. During the course of the wiretapping, conspirators frequently utilized coded and cryptic terminology in an attempt to disguise their illicit activities, such as referring to conducting a motorcycle theft as “busting a move,” dismantling a motorcycle for parts as “chopping it up,” and altering a vehicle identification number (VIN) as “stamping.”
“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 DA John Ryan. “In keeping with Judge Brown’s tradition of collaborating with our law enforcement partners, we brought this information to the Attorney General’s Organized Crime Task Force with full confidence the case was in good hands. We thank Attorney General James for her work to ensure justice is served.”
If convicted, each of the defendants faces a maximum of seven years in prison.
“The joyride is over for this group,” James quipped. “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. I want to thank the NYPD and the Queens District Attorney’s Office for their partnership in bringing these individuals to justice. Our streets are safer today than they were yesterday.”