YOU READ IT HERE FIRST: A tri-state car-theft ring that shipped stolen vehicles as far as Barcelona, Spain, was busted by Wood-Ridge police with the arrests of men from Union City and Paterson.
The probe began after an assistant manager at a car dealership storage facility on Passaic Street reported finding an unoccupied vehicle running, with its door open and broken glass, where several others had been parked, Wood-Ridge Police Chief Joseph Rutigliano said this morning.
Using evidence found at the scene and information from sources, Detective Lt. John Korin, along with Detectives Joseph Rutigliano, Jr. and Joseph Biamonte, connected the thefts to several in Lodi, Fair Lawn, and Pequannock, the chief said.
The investigation brought them to Fairless, Pa., to ports in Newark and New York — and to a port in Barcelona, Spain — where several vehicles were recovered.
Carlos Arnao, 32 of Central Avenue in Union City;
Robinson Loubriel, 32 of Central Avenue in Union City;
Ramon Melendez, 33, of Paterson Plank Road in Union City;
Rodolfo Perez, 32, of 44th Street in Union City;
Manuel Ventura, 26, of Haledon Avenue in Paterson.
All were charged with theft, burglary and defiant trespassing.
They are being held at the Bergen, Passaic and Hudson county jails, each on $10,000 bail.
Rutigliano credited police from Carlstadt, Hasbrouck Heights and Union City, as well as the Hudson County Sheriff’s Department, Prosecutor’s Office and Corrections Department, the North Haledon Police Department and the New Jersey State Police Auto Theft Squad for their assistance in the probe.
MUGSHOTS COURTESY: Wood-Ridge PD