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Little Neck restaurant targeted by car thieves

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A College Point man was one of three Queens residents charged with participating in a luxury car theft ring that stole from valet parking lots at Boccacio’s Restaurant in Little Neck and Water’s Edge Restaurant in Long Island City, the Queens district attorney announced last week.

Eligio Lebron, 27, of 117-13 9th Ave. in College Point was one of four men who were variously charged with criminal possession of stolen property, criminal possession of forgery devices, illegal possession of a Vehicle Identification Number and criminal possession of a weapon, the district attorney said.

Jose Delacruz, 32, of Providence, R.I. was charged as the ringleader of the scheme, said the district attorney. Jaime Deleon, 30, of 44-30 MacNish St. in Elmhurst and Samuel Rodriguez, 28, of 108-17 34th Ave. in Corona were also charged, said the district attorney.

Delacruz, Lebron and Rodriguez face up to 15 years in prison if convicted, while Deleon faces seven year, the district attorney said.

The ring scouted valet parking lots throughout the metropolitan region, including Boccacio’s Restaurant in Little Neck and Water’s Edge Restaurant in Long Island City, the district attorney said. Ring members then stole luxury cars and parked them on streets in Whitestone, College Point and Elmhurst for brief periods. That way if the cars were located by the police through the LoJack and Onstar tracking systems, the stolen vehicles would not be tied to ring members, the district attorney said.

In an Elmhurst apartment, the ring members created fraudulent VIN numbers using a computer and a reconfigured silk screening machine, the district attorney said. The men would attach the fake VIN numbers in the cars in order to conceal the vehicle’s ownership, the district attorney said.

“The defendants in this case thought they had a foolproof scheme, but they have now been caught and face long prison terms,” said Queens District Attorney Richard Brown.

In order to conceal their work, the participants used code names, the district attorney charged.

For example, the phrase “batteries on” meant that a gang member should steal a car, while “ugly ones” was used for police, the district attorney said.

An “X-ray” was a BMW X5 and a “Superman” was Mercedes Benz S500, which sells new for $85,000, the district attorney said.

Police began wiretapping the cell phones of Lebron and Delacruz in April 2001, and the information collected lead to a search of Deleon’s apartment on Sept. 17, said the district attorney.

Reach reporter Alexander Dworkowitz by e-mail at Timesledger@aol.com or call 229-0300 Ext. 141.

Posted 7:02 pm, October 10, 2011
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