HARRISON, N.Y. -- License plate readers, vehicle tracking software and solid detective work by Harrison police led to the arrest of three natives of Chile involved in an international theft ring.
Harrison Police announced the arrest of Jonathan Nievees Marrero, 28; Braulio Alejandro Besoain Ortiz, 25; and Valentina Naomi Vilches Ledezma 19, for their role in a larceny from a vehicle on Sunday.
When the suspects were tracked in a rental car to a hotel in Queens, Harrison police recovered fake ID and about $40,000 in cash and stolen merchandise, according to Harrison Police Chief Anthony Marraccini.
"We still don't know who they are,'' Marraccini said during an interview at police headquarters on Friday, pointing to forged U.S. passports, driver's licenses and gift cards.
All three defendants have multiple aliases.
On Sunday, a 38-year-female went to a local recreation center in Purchase. The victim reports that she had parked and locked her car doors. The victim reports that when she returned to her car she observed all of her car windows were open, her Louis Vuitton tote bag that she had left on her front passenger side floor was missing, and damage to the driver door lock, which had been removed.
Harrison Police detectives conducted an investigation and attained video from the recreation center. It was determined from the video that at least one male and one female were involved in committing the larceny. Further investigation with the use of sophisticated electronic technology identified a rental SUV used during the larceny.
The suspect vehicle was tracked to the Corona Hotel in Queens, N.Y., where Harrison police conducted covert surveillance and apprehended the three suspects.
Numerous items believed to be stolen and/or purchased with stolen funds -- including expensive purses, belts and shoes -- were seized at the scene. Seized property includes a large amount of cash, new clothing, luxury hand bags, including the Harrison victim’s Louis Vuitton tote bag, jewelry, retail gift cards, and multiple forms of identification.
The three defendants are believed to be involved in identity thefts, production of fraudulent credit cards, and other financial and property crimes all over the United States.
Chief Marraccini said, “What appeared to be a simple property crime has turned into a multi-jurisdiction organized crime ring operating in the U.S."
Harrison Police are furthering their investigation with other law enforcement authorities, including U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. The investigation is ongoing and could result in additional arrests.
Marrero was charged with felony fourth-degree grand larceny, fourth-degree criminal mischief and fifth-degree conspiracy.
Ortiz was charged with felony second-degree criminal possession of a forged Instrument.
Ledezma was charged with felony fourth-degree grand larceny, fourth-degree criminal mischief and fifth-degree conspiracy.
All three suspects are being held in Westchester County Jail without bail, Marraccini said.