Auto-Stripping and Stolen Vehicle Parts in New York
Our attorneys in the state of New York are experienced and knowledgeable enough to skillfully represent individuals who have been charged with crimes associated with:
- Owning chop shops
- Stealing car parts
- Being in possession of stolen vehicle property
Our mission is to provide individuals being prosecuted for these offenses with legal representation and to prepare them for any circumstance that often accompanies these charges. We will strive to help you and your loved ones understand the law and to help ensure future compliance with it.
The crimes of operating a chop shop, stealing vehicle parts, and being in possession of stolen vehicle parts carry a range of penalties depending on the circumstances. These charges can severely disrupt your life and the lives of your loved ones. We strongly recommend, that if you or a loved one is being charged with one of these crimes that you seek legal counsel.
Our firm has attorneys who are dedicated to learning the circumstances of your case and providing you the best legal defense.
If you or a loved one has been charged with a vehicle property crime in the state of New York, please call our firm today for a free legal consultation! Our attorneys are dedicated to helping in your defense.
In 1996, there was a vehicle theft reported every five minutes.1 Now, in the United States, the vehicle theft rate has decreased significantly.2 This change has been caused by quite a few advances in vehicular anti-theft system and other technology, as well as increased prosecution with harsher penalties for these crimes.3
However, this has caused a rise in the theft of vehicle parts and recycling of stolen cars through chop shops.3, 4
In 2017, despite the downward trend in stolen vehicles, there was a vehicle stolen roughly every 40 seconds in the United States.2 The costs associated with these thefts was close to six billion dollars.2 Many of these vehicles were being stolen for their parts with specific vehicles being targeted.3,
4 Due to this high rate of stolen vehicles, New York’s penal code still has harsh penalties for being involved in a crime associated with vehicle property.5 In addition, the New York Motor Vehicle Theft and Insurance Fraud Board still creates new plans on a yearly basis to enforce these laws and prosecute those individuals involved.4
What is vehicle property crime?
A vehicle property crime is where an individual unlawfully utilizes the vehicle property of another for their own benefit or the benefit of another. This encompasses a number of activities. Some activities may even surprise people who are in violation of the law.
Here is a list of some ways that someone might violate vehicle property crime laws in New York:
- Removing, defacing, or demolishing a working vehicle or its parts, without the permission of the owner
- Removing, defacing, or demolishing an abandoned vehicle without legal authorization or the permission of the owner
- Damaging a vehicle while trying to achieve unauthorized access
- Disguising or altering a vehicle without the permission of the owner
- Stealing a vehicle or any of its parts or components
- Coercing another individual to relinquish their vehicle or vehicle parts
- Operating a business where stolen vehicles or vehicle parts are stored, sold, or exchanged
- Operating a business that dismantles stolen vehicles to sell their parts (chop-shop)
- Allowing or facilitating the operation of a chop shop
- Using a stolen credit card or identification to purchase vehicles or vehicle parts
- Possession of vehicles or vehicle parts known to be stolen
- A broker in vehicles or vehicle parts that is in possession of stolen vehicles or parts if the broker did not take reasonable steps to ensure that the vehicle and parts were not stolen
- Purchasing and selling vehicles or vehicle parts known to be stolen
- Writing a check, known to be bad, to purchase a vehicle or vehicle parts
- Obtaining a vehicle or vehicle parts under false pretenses
- Attempting to engage in any of these practices
This list does not cover all of the ways that an individual may violate New York law. Also, many of these activities may also violate other New York laws and similar federal laws. If you have any concerns or questions about if your activities are in compliance with the law, please call us today.
New York law associated with vehicle property crimes covers a wide array of activities. If you or a loved one is concerned that an activity is a vehicle property crime, please call our firm today.
What are New York’s vehicle property crime laws?
New York has a variety of statutes that criminalize certain activities related to vehicles and vehicle parts. The three main categories of vehicle property crimes are:
- Grand larceny
- Being in possession of stolen property
These areas have various degrees and penalties. It is also important to note that many of these activities will also violate other state and federal laws. If you have any concerns about your activities, please call our offices today.
What is New York’s auto-stripping law?
Auto-stripping is defined as:
- Intentionally dismantling a vehicle
- Intentionally defacing a vehicle
- Intentionally demolishing a vehicile
- Intentionally altering or disguising a vehicle or vehicle parts
New York has made this activity illegal,except in certain circumstances. The only activity that is not illegal is if someone auto-strips a working vehicle with the permission of the owner or an abandoned vehicle with the permission of the owner or is otherwise legally authorized.6
New York has identified three degrees of offense with associated penalties:
first offense is when someone auto-strips a working vehicle or abandoned
vehicle without authorization. This is considered:
- Auto-stripping in the third degree
- A class A misdemeanor 6
second offense is when someone has been convicted of auto-stripping within
the last five years or has auto-stripped two or more vehicles. This is
- Auto-stripping in the second degree
- A class E felony7
third offense is when someone has auto-stripped three or more vehicles.
This is considered:
- Auto-stripping in the first degree
- A class D felony8
The penalties associated with these varying auto-stripping degrees range from 1 year in jail, a fine of $1,000 or double the amount gained from the crime for a class A misdemeanor,9 and maximum sentence of 25 years in prison along with varying fines or double the amount gained from the crime for a class B felony.10, 11
Individuals that have been charged with the crime of auto-stripping may be facing up to a maximum of 25 years in prison and substantial fines.
What is New York’s theft of vehicle property law?
The theft of a vehicle or any vehicle part will be considered larceny. New York separates larceny into two categories: petit larceny and grand larceny. Grand larceny is divided into four degrees of severity:12
stolen vehicle part worth less than $100 will be considered petit
- A class A misdemeanor13
stolen vehicle or vehicle part worth more than $100 will be considered
grand larceny. Depending on the value of the stolen property it is
- A class E felony
- A class B felony14
The penalties are similar to auto-stripping penalties. A petit larceny charge may result in a year of jail and a fine, whereas a first-degree grand larceny penalty could result in 25 years in prison with substantial fines
Violations of New York’s larceny statutes, depending on the offense and circumstances, could result in a maximum of 25 years imprisonment and steep fines
What is New York’s possession of stolen property law?
New York’s possession of stolen property law is separate from its larceny laws. These laws do not require proof that an individual was responsible for the theft of the property, only that they were in possession of the property and knew or had reason to know that it was stolen and were used to benefit from it themselves, or to prevent the owner from recovering their property.15
Possession of stolen property law is divided into five separate degrees of offense. These range from a class A misdemeanor to a class B felony.15 The penalties for these violations are very similar to auto-stripping and larceny. The divisions between the degrees of the offense are mostly based on the value of the stolen property. However, it is a more severe offense if the stolen property is firearms, chemicals to manufacture methamphetamine, credit cards, or if the person in possession of the property is a collateral broker
Violations of New York’s possession of stolen property laws can result in a maximum sentence of 25 years in prison and substantial fines.
Current Events with vehicle property crime laws in New York
Article 1: Man sentenced for selling stolen car parts from a dealership
Charge: Grand Larceny in the 2nd degree
Allegation: A man who was employed by a car dealership stole vehicle parts and sold them for profit.
In 2018, John Labarbera was sentenced to a year in county jail and ordered to pay over $231,000 in restitution. Labarbera had utilized his position to obtain car parts illegally and would sell them via the internet.
According to a report by the Westchester Office of the District Attorney, Labarbera was a parts manager for a dealership. He encouraged the management to start to sell parts through eBay.com. Labarbera set up the dealership’s account and also set up an account for himself at the same time.
Labarbera used this side account to sell stolen parts from the dealership. He kept the profits for himself, and utilized the dealership’s services to ship the stolen parts. This practice lasted nearly 4 years.
Labarbera used his position to alter inventory lists to cover up his illegal practices. The larceny was valued at $237,317.26 and he was ordered to pay this amount in restitution. Labarbera has already paid half of this amount and will serve a year in county jail.
To read this report in full, please click here. Or copy and paste the following link.https://www.westchesterda.net/july-2018/3451-car-dealership-employee-sentenced-for-illegally-selling-stolen-car-parts-over-the-internet
Article 2: Eleven men indicted for involvement with stolen car ring
Charge: Grand larceny
Allegation: A stolen car ring was using social media to sell stolen cars and car parts.
In 2017, 11 men were indicted for using various social media websites to sell stolen vehicles and vehicle parts, along with other illegal items.
According to a New York Daily News article, an undercover agent met with one of the men who was a part of the stolen car ring, and who provided him with forged documents. This led to a 16-month investigation where the investigator was sold a variety of stolen vehicles.
This investigation eventually exposed the stolen car ring, and it was estimated that the stolen vehicles and vehicle parts were valued at $500,000. The vehicles were stolen from various areas in New York and New Jersey.
The police were able to recover some vehicles valued at $270,000 after they arrested the 11 men. The men were later indicted on charges of grand larceny.
To read the article in full, please click here. Or copy and paste the link below.
Article 3: Seven men charged for involvement with stolen car ring
Charge: Grand larceny, transportation, and sale of stolen vehicles, and conspiracy to commit such crimes.
Allegation: A group used a highly complicated scheme to steal high-end vehicles.
In 2018, charges were filed against seven men for their involvement in a stolen car ring that is estimated to have had stolen property valued at $3.1 million.
According to the DOJ press release, a joint investigation with both federal and local law enforcement revealed a national stolen car ring. Those involved were found to be stealing vehicles from different states across the country.
They would ship these vehicles to different states, and through a complex scheme, would sell the stolen vehicles in various areas of the country, including New York. The current estimate for the stolen vehicles is $3.1 million. Seven men, all from the eastern coast, were identified by these officers and were later charged with their involvement.
To read the press release in full, please click here. Or copy and paste the link below.
What should I do if I have been charged with a vehicle property crime?
Call us! If you have been charged with a vehicle property crime, you and your loved ones need help from those that have the proper skills and experience. We recommend you seek legal assistance immediately. Our attorneys have the experience and knowledge to provide you with the information and help you need. We can help you throughout the entire process