To pull off their heist, the burglars first cut power to the Carsiri Queens dealership to prevent their criminal activities from being detected on the property's surveillance cameras, NYPD reported. The thieves then broke the locks on the security gate to gain access to the car lot. Once inside, they broke into the dealership's office to obtain the vehicles' keys.
Throughout the evening, the criminals returned multiple times to transport more vehicles off the property. NYPD reported that the crooks drove away with 26 luxury vehicles, said to be worth hundreds of thousands of dollars.
According to authorities, the heist was the second large-scale vehicle theft within a month.
Law enforcement reported that on October 13, a Mitsubishi dealership on Liberty Avenue in Jamaica had 19 luxury vehicles stolen from the lot. In that instance, the criminals used similar tactics to gain access to the property. Police determined that the thieves drove off with the monetary equivalent of over $800,000.
Employees did not notice that the lot had been robbed until they returned to work on Monday.
After the theft was reported, authorities recovered two of the stolen vehicles – a BMW and a Mercedes. Police stated that a group of six men were believed to be involved in the theft and that they believed the criminals would likely sell the vehicles overseas or use them to commit other crimes in the U.S.
"We know in the past, these went overseas, but now we're seeing with autos, they're used in crimes," NYPD chief of detectives James Essig told reporters following the first heist. "You know, they ride around the city doing gunpoint robberies at smoke shops, on the street corners."
"Our feeling is just based on the way crime is going, people taking these cars, they will use these 20 cars in multiple robberies and burglaries throughout the city, switching plates on and off and on and off," Essig continued.
Authorities are investigating the latest vehicle heist to determine whether the same group committed both thefts.
The NYPD reported that vehicle thefts in the city are up 34.2% compared to last year.