JACKSON HEIGHTS — Two New Jersey men were arraigned Friday on grand larceny charges after they allegedly worked together to steal more than $3,500 from a Jackson Heights store owner, a spokeswoman for District Attorney Richard Brown said.
Edwin Torres, 42, of Paterson, N.J., allegedly walked into 37th Avenue Grocery, at 90-01 37th Ave. in Jackson Heights, around 9 a.m. Dec. 11 and purchased two lottery tickets, the criminal complaint said.
After Torres paid for the purchase, his alleged accomplice, 62-year-old Mario Vargas, also of Paterson, then bought four phone cards worth $5 each but paid with only a crumpled $10 bill, the complaint said.
That is when Torres allegedly told the store owner that he saw Vargas outside the store and the owner should go get him, according to the complaint.
When the owner returned to the store, he noticed the store phone was on the floor and about $3,800 was missing from behind the counter, the complaint said.
Surveillance video allegedly showed Torres and Vargas perpetrating the scam, the complaint said.
The men were arraigned Friday on grand larceny charges before Queens Criminal Court Judge Gene Lopez, the spokeswoman said.
Lopez set bail at $1 for Torres and at $25,000 for Vargas, the spokeswoman said.
The duo are next scheduled to appear in court Feb. 3.
Torres’ bail was set at $1 because he is already being held on $50,000 bail in another grand larceny case in Astoria, the spokeswoman said.
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