YOU READ IT HERE FIRST : “NYPD! Hands up!“ two New York City police officers shouted as they burst into a Carlstadt perfume warehouse, waving guns and badges, and robbed $600,000 million worth of high-end perfumes and fragrances, federal authorities said today.
Officers Richard LeBlanca and Brian Checo orchestrated the Feb. 9 heist along with a former NYPD colleague, Orlando Garcia — using their own driver’s licenses and debit cards to rent the trucks used to haul off the booty — according to an FBI complaint unsealed after all three were arrested this morning.
Nearly a dozen employees of In Style USA’s warehouse were held at gunpoint, some of them tied up, by the officers, who brought the rented white box trucks and day laborers along with them. (See CLIFFVIEWPILOT.COM ‘S original story: Gunmen tie up workers, haul off perfume )
Police from several agencies converged on the warehouse — which ships perfumes manufactured by, among others, Versace, Christian Dior, Giorgio Armani, BVLGARI, Herme s and D&G — after an employee dialed 911.
But the trio had left with hundreds of boxes, and the day laborers were found herded into an empty truck.
It didn’t take long for federal investigators to assemble all of the pieces — believe it or not, LeBlanca and Checo used their personal debit cards when they rented the trucks.
LeBlanca, 25, Checo, 24, Garcia, 35, and four co-conspirators were named in a March 4 federal complaint unsealed with today‘s arrests.
Also charged were Gabriel Vargas, 31, Luis R. Morales, 31, Anselmo Jimenes, a/k/a “Ansemo Jimenes,” 29, and Alan A. Bannout, 23, all of Brooklyn.
Jimenes has since been picked up on a separate charge and is in the Bergen County Jail. Bannout is still at large.
“An armed robbery is an extremely serious federal crime, particularly when it is orchestrated and perpetuated by officers sworn to uphold the very laws that they are alleged to have violated,” U.S. Attorney Paul Fishman said.
“The officers’ actions, if proven true, would constitute nothing less than the ultimate betrayal of the trust afforded these officers,” Fishman said.
Both patrolmen, LeBlanca and Checo work out of the Washington Heights/Inwood-based 34th Precinct, just on the other said of the George Washington Bridge.
Federal authorities say they and their associates rented five trucks out of Brooklyn and Jersey City, picked up 16 day laborers, and headed to Carlstadt, where they met their accomplices outside the warehouse.
Then they burst in, later claiming they were conducting a routine inspection, a federal complaint alleges. The employees were held hostage while three of the trucks were loaded and driven off.
Also taken was a DVR recorder and monitor, along with nearly $4,000 in cash kept in a drawer, the federal complaint says.
By then, police had arrived.
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