Thieves Stole, Stripped And Scrapped Vehicles, Authorities Say

TRENTON, N.J. (CBSNewYork/AP) — A South Amboy, N.J. man pleaded guilty this week to supervising an auto-theft ring that authorities said stole over 100 vehicles worth a total of more than $550,000.

The Attorney General’s office said Jose D. Lopez, 33, admitted guilty Friday to first-degree promotion of organized street crime and other charges.

Authorities said the ring operated a chop shop.

“What would happen would be that the cars would be stolen, the car would be stripped, the tools would be sold, the valuable car parts would be sold, and then the cars would be scrapped,” acting New Jersey Attorney General John Hoffman told WCBS 880.

Hoffman said the auto theft ring also impacted the jobs of hard-working New Jersey contractors by stealing vans and tools belonging to plumbers, electricians and painters.

“One of the things that made this crime so particularly egregious was that a lot of contractors’ vans were targeted because they were far more valuable with all the tools that were in them,” he said.

Lopez admitted to conspiring to steal 104 vehicles in Middlesex County, including multiple Honda passenger vehicles, Ford contractor vans, one trailer, one Suzuki Hayabusa motorcycle, and other vehicles.

He could face up to 15 years in prison at his Sept. 16 sentencing.

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