Two Queens men and a man from Brooklyn were charged in Queens Criminal Court earlier this week for stripping dozens of cars for their tires and rims across the borough.
Jonathan Pacheco, 30, Fabian Rodriguez, 33, and Jacob Martinez, 29, were all charged with grand larceny, among other charges, for allegedly participating in the scheme that resulted in the burglary of around $42,000 worth of car parts, according to Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz.
Pacheco, who lives in northwest Queens, was arrested in Pennsylvania and extradited to Queens to face the charges earlier this week. He had fled the state after learning he was wanted by the NYPD, according to the DA.
The pit-stop style auto strippings lasted for six months, beginning in November 2019 and lasting through May 2020, Katz said.
On Nov. 7, 2019, around 12:30 a.m., Pacheco allegedly parked his car directly across for a 2019 Honda Civic parked in Oakland Gardens, according to the charges. Aided by an unidentified accomplice, Pacheco removed the lug nuts from the Honda’s wheels and took all four of the car’s tires and rims, according to the authorities.
The owner of the car arrived to the scene hours later to find his car propped up on milk crates.
Video surveillance on Feb. 24, 2020, captured the trio and an unapprehended person stealing tires and rims from a Honda parked in Kew Gardens Hills, according to the DA.
The charges state that Pacheco, Rodriguez and Martinez repeated the scheme on Hondas parked in Bellerose, Hollis, Forest Hills, Middle Village, Fresh Meadows, Flushing, Ozone Park, Richmond Hill, Glendale, Jamaica Hills, Bayside, Maspeth and Rego Park.
In total, the DA charges that Pacheco, the main defendant, participated in 14 auto robberies.
In January and February 2020, an undercover NYPD detective began to purchase tires and rims from Pacheco, which he sold for around $170 per tire.
Pacheco, who was charged with auto stripping, criminal possession of stolen property and grand larceny, will return to court on Feb. 11 and faces up to 7 years in prison if convicted of the charges. Rodriguez, who is also from northwest Queens, faces the same charges and prison time that Pacheco faces. He’ll return to court on Feb. 18.
Martinez, who is from Brooklyn, was charged with criminal possession of stolen property and grand larceny. Scheduled to return to court on Feb. 4, Martinez faces up to 4 years in prison.
This story first appeared on our sister publication qns.com.