(USNewsMag.com) – New York City police arrested at least seven migrants who were allegedly involved in a crime ring while the police were executing a search warrant on a safe house in the Bronx on February 5th.
The migrants, who are all believed to be from Venezuela, allegedly stole cell phones and wallets from more than 62 women.
Cleyber Andrade, 20, was charged with 25 grand larcenies; Juan Uzcatgui, 23, was charged with 20 grand larcenies; Roxanna Sahos, 24, was charged with tampering with evidence; and Alexander Dayker, 20, was charged with criminal possession of stolen property.
Police continue to search for the alleged leader of the group of thieves, Victor Parra, 30. According to investigators, he recruits migrants to steal phones using WhatsApp messages. He then had someone hack the phones, using the phones to empty bank accounts and make fraudulent purchases.
The migrants arrested on February 5th allegedly stole iPhones and then used the Apple Pay feature and the owners’ credit cards to make purchases, according to police. According to NYPD Chief of Detectives Joseph Kenny, scooter drivers were paid around $100 per day, and the phone thieves were paid around $300-$600 for each stolen phone.
One of the thefts, captured on surveillance footage, showed one of the migrants on a moped dragging a woman, 52, along a street in the Sheepshead Bay section of Brooklyn as the migrant was attempting to steal her phone. The woman’s phone, glasses, bag, key, credit cards, $60 cash, and ID were all stolen.
New York City Mayor Eric Adams went with police executing the search warrant, and during the press conference about the arrests, he said this was not about migrants but “about those who break the law.”
The arrests come after another video was released last month that showed around a dozen migrants assaulting two police officers. Five of the alleged suspects were released without bail by a Manhattan judge. It is believed that four of the suspects left the city after being released after they gave a charity that helps migrants get bus tickets fake names. Only one suspect is still in jail.
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