Auto Service World
News   December 12, 2005   by Auto Service World

Police-operated Salvage Yard Draws Thieves “Like Bees to Honey”


A salvage yard in Brooklyn, N.Y. had become a popular place for car theives to unload stolen vehicles; so popular police took to operating it as a way to attract and arrest them.
Brownsville Auto Salvage became a popular destination for car thieves and a year ago the New York Police Department leased the business and staffed it with detectives with backgrounds in car repair and welding. While the business continued to operate a legitimate business, it quietly built its repuation as a place that would accept stolen cars, and chop them for resale as parts on the black market.
The police say that the yard received more than 100 sotlen cars and $2 million U.S. in stolen auto parts. Yesterday, Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly announced dozens of arrests during a news conference at the salvage yard.
“Criminals learned by word-of-mouth that Brownsville Auto Salvage might trade in stolen parts,” Kelly said. “When that happened, we soon had plenty of business.”
Alleged thieves showed up with Cadillacs, Mercedes, Hondas and other models. The cars had been stolen from throughout the five boroughs, as well as from as far away as Florida and South Carolina.
The individuals arrested included associates of the Genovese and Lucchese organized crime families. Others were part of a ring that convinced owners of fully insured cars to report them stolen. The owners would hand their car keys to the thieves, who would deliver the cars to the salvage yard. Once word came back that the cars had been chopped, the owners would make fraudulent insurance claims.
Car owners charged in the scam included an accountant, an architect, a public school teacher, a mail carrier and a utility worker, Kelly said. One allegedly made a false claim for a $65,000 BMW.


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