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NY man indicted for his role in car theft ring

Danbury Police, the Putnam County Sheriff’s Department, the FBI and others investigated a case which has now led to a federal grand jury returning a five-count indictment against a New York man for his alleged role in a car theft ring.  U.S. Attorney John Durham says 24-year old Josepher Cartagena of the Bronx was charged with conspiracy to possess and transport stolen vehicles and related offenses. 

Law enforcement in Connecticut and New York have been investigating a car theft ring that, for at least the past six months, has been conducting coordinated burglaries of car dealerships in Connecticut and elsewhere.  They allegedly often hit multiple locations in one night.  The indictment alleged that the suspects would break in, take key fobs, and use them to identify and steal vehicles. 

The group, which also is believed to have burglarized mobile phone stores, is allegedly responsible for the theft of more than 40 vehicles in Connecticut, New York and elsewhere.  The value of the stolen property is estimated to be in the millions of dollars.

The indictment specifically alleges that, on July 28, Cartagena stole a 2020 Jeep Gladiator Rubicon from a Danbury home and drove the vehicle to New York.  On July 29, Cartagena and others broke into an auto dealership in Milford and stole multiple key fobs and a 2019 Jeep Grand Cherokee, which they drove to New York. 

On July 31, group members returned to the Milford dealership and used one of the stolen key fobs to steal a 2020 Jeep Grand Cherokee Overland. It is alleged that Cartagena has fled from law enforcement in high-speed car chases on multiple occasions.  When law enforcement first attempted to arrest Cartagena on a federal arrest warrant, Cartagena dropped a firearm and was able to escape by ramming multiple FBI vehicles with his vehicle, which was stolen. 

Investigators apprehended Cartagena late at night on December 23 after an all-day search. A court-authorized search of Cartagena’s residence revealed hundreds of thousands of dollars of suspected stolen merchandise and approximately $89,000 in cash.

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Jim Bohannon

Local Headlines