Nine charged in vehicle and heavy equipment theft ring

West Bay

(Photo by ANDREAS ARNOLD/AFP via Getty Images)

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — A Cranston man and eight other people have been indicted by a federal grand jury for charges related to stealing and selling nearly $700,000 worth of recreational vehicles and heavy equipment over the past year.

The alleged ringleader was Jose A. Montes, who was also known by the names Jose Rivera and “Tuto,” according to the office of U.S. Attorney Aaron Weisman. Montes allegedly scouted auto dealerships and marinas in four states in order to steal equipment and sell it off.

The items were stolen from businesses in South Kingstown and Tiverton, R.I., Auburn, Easton, and Rehoboth, Mass., Stafford, Vernon, and Waterford, Conn., and Hampstead, N.H., between Nov. 2019 and July 2020. The investigation grew to include officers from several of those cities and towns as well as Rhode Island and Connecticut State Police.

The group of nine is accused of using rented and stolen trucks to haul away 10 trailers, 10 jet skis, three Bobcat excavators, four boats, and eight all-terrain vehicles. Many of the stolen items were stored across several towns in Rhode Island, and several were hauled down to be sold in Florida.

Key to providing clues to the ring’s operations was the theft of the Bobcat excavators from a dealer in Auburn, Mass., around April 10 of this year. The excavators had GPS locators built into them, and they were located on April 13 — two of them in Johnston, and the third in North Providence.

Besides Montes, those charged are Krystal K. Disano, 26, of Sarasota, Fla.; Sorina Cruz, 43, of Cranston; Daniel J. Guerriero, 34, of North Scituate; Ronald S. Mosca, 48, of Sarasota, Fla.; Irvin W. McLaughlin, Jr., 40, of Connecticut; Efrain A. Lopez, 32, of Providence; Jared J. Santiago, 28, of Providence; and Luis M. Morales, 37, of Providence.

The group faces charges in the thirteen-count indictment including interstate transportation of stolen property, receipt of stolen goods, and conspiracy to commit interstate transportation of stolen property.

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