Authorities Dismantle Stolen Car Ring
Dozens of men have been charged or arrested in connection with a violent, international carjacking and stolen vehicle trafficking enterprise.
The syndicate targeted luxury cars in New Jersey and New York that can be shipped to West Africa for resale at a much higher price than their new market value in the United States.
At a total value of more than $8 million, 163 stolen cars were recovered in "Operation Jacked," a 10-month investigation led by New Jersey and assisted by authorities in other states and at the federal level.
"We recovered 140 of those vehicles at ports in New York and New Jersey where members of the ring had taken them for shipment," said Acting Attorney General John Hoffman at a Thursday afternoon press conference in Totowa.
The majority of recovered vehicles had been stolen from various locations such as airports and car dealerships. Twenty-seven vehicles had been taken in carjackings, a majority of which involved a weapon.
Hoffman noted keys or key fobs were hot items for the theft crews, as they made it easier to distribute the vehicles on the secondary market. After vehicles were stolen, according to the Attorney General's Office, they were stored in "cool off" locations for a period of time so the perpetrators could make sure the vehicles weren't being tracked.
"This ring we took down was a double threat," Hoffman added. "Its members committed carjackings that put the public in grave danger, while at the same time, through their fencing and shipping operations, they created demand that motivated others to commit carjackings. We hit them hard from both ends, completely dismantling their operations."