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Cops Break Up $1 Million Luxury Car Theft Ring

By Smriti Rao | May 16, 2012 2:57pm
Cops busts million dollar luxury car theft racket that stole cars and shipped them to Africa.
Cops busts million dollar luxury car theft racket that stole cars and shipped them to Africa.
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QUEENS — These guys are on the fast track for a prison term.

Cops put the brakes on a Queens-based $1 million dollar luxury car theft ring that snatched Acuras and other high-end rides from around the city and shipped them off to Africa and Chicago.

Some 14 people were arrested in "Operation EZ Steal," in which investigators from the state Attorney General's office and the NYPD spent a year investigating the elaborate international scam.

“The streets of NYC were used as a giant showroom for stealing cars,” said Attorney General Eric Schneiderman.

According to the indictment, the ring’s alleged international broker, Isaac Akoukoh, specified what make and model of car he was looking for.

The local broker would then ID a car on the street that matched the specifications, officials said.

Access codes provided by another ring member — a Florida based Toyota Dealership employee — would allow the thieves in New York to swipe the car without raising any alarms, police said.

The pilfered cars were then shipped and sold in Ghana, Senegal and Nigeria for as much as $40,000 in cash each. Others were hawked on the black market in Chicago.

Toyotas, Lexus Highlanders, Acuras and other high-end cars were among the favorites of the alleged band of thieves, according to the cops.  

The stolen cars were allegedly stashed in two spots in Queens — 33-24 69th St. in Jackson Heights and 22-12 27th St. in Astoria — and The Bronx, at 300 Jackson Ave.

The 14 ring-members, including their boss, were arrested on felony charges filed in Queens Supreme Court.

Twelve of them were charged with enterprise corruption, which carries a maximum penalty of up to 25 years in prison, cops said.