Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Luxury car theft ring busted. Any luck finding that "Mystery Man" Detective Baluja?

We came across this story the other day on the local news...

From the WSVN website...

NORTH MIAMI-DADE, Fla. (WSVN) -- Police have busted an elaborate stolen rental car ring.

On Wednesday afternoon, Miami-Dade Police surrounded a Mercedes sport utility vehicle at a warehouse whose location they are keeping under wraps as the investigation is ongoing. Police said the SUV was only one of several stolen rental cars they confiscated.

According to police, thousands of dollars worth of vehicles were ripped off from luxury rental agencies, then stored in a warehouse and shipped overseas. "These are high-end vehicles, so they're worth a lot of money. This vehicle right here is worth over $30,000. If they were to sell it for half the price overseas it would be pure profit," said an undercover Miami-Dade Police detective.

Police said someone would rent the cars with a fake ID.

Investigators said, on this day alone, they confiscated cars worth more than $250,000. "This is very serious," said another undercover agent. "As you can tell, these are high-end cars. The cheapest car we recovered here today is worth over $30,000, and we recovered over $250,000 just today. This investigation is still pending. As of right now, we've recovered four, and we're still pending arrests,"

Police said this investigation is far from over noting there are other high-priced cars out there, which were bought using the same scam. "Those are two that we have left here on scene," the officer said pointing to the vehicles. "The other two that we've already removed from the scene was a BMW X5 2010, which alone is worth over $100,000 and an Audi sports utility vehicle, which is about $70,000 to $80,000."

Police are still investigating this case. They said it was a very intricate and expensive operation. The crooks first needed a fake ID to rent the cars, then they needed a fake title. Police said they found several fake titles, so now they are trying to find out who leased and rented these cars and who bought the stolen cars.
Serious stuff, huh?  The crooks would go to a rent a car company and rent a luxury car using a fake identity then haul ass with the car.  Once the car was in their possession, the police allege that they would produce fake paperwork for the cars and send them out of the country.  From what we can deduce from the news story, the police are still trying to find "who leased and rented these cars", in other words, they found the cars, but have no idea who the people who rented the cars with the false identities are.  Hmmm, sound familiar?  Isn't this the same M.O. as mortgage fraudsters stealing peoples identity, producing fake identification then ripping off banks through mortgage fraud?  

We discussed the "mystery man" who allegedly impersonated Bernardo Barrera in the Oak Avenue mortgage fraud, yet somehow nearly two years later the MDPD hasn't been able to locate him even though Detective Baluja tells us during one of his depositions that the impostor was the target of his investigation...

Ok, so how do we go from the "impostor" being the target of the criminal investigation to the guy never even being charged?  Even worse, nearly two years after the Bernardo Barrera mortgage fraud arrests were made and after at least two of the people charged have cut deals, still no impostor?  WTF?  Like we said back in May, this impostor is the guy who's actually guilty of identity theft, yet he still hasn't been arrested or even identified?  Does that make any sense?!  Also take into consideration that these people don't rip off peoples identity from thin air, there's extensive criminal organizations that sell peoples identities as well as produce the fake forms of identification.  If indeed Barrera got his identity stolen (yeah right), who gave it to the people who were charged in the case?  We discussed the possibility of a stolen identity "broker" in the past, so why isn't there any evidence of such a person being investigated?  Surely if the cops were to find this person or ring of people that deal in stolen identities they'd find other frauds involving identity theft, why didn't they investigate this angle?

Considering that MDPD couldn't identify the man who supposedly impersonated Bernardo Barrera and still haven't arrested the impostor even though he was the target of a criminal investigation, does anyone think that the Miami Dade Police Department Auto theft Detectives are going to identify the people who used the fake ID's to rent those luxury cars?  After all, let's not forget who's working Auto Theft these days...

1 comment:

  1. Cops are still analyzing this situation. They said it was a very complex and costly function. The baddies first required a bogus ID to lease the vehicles, then they required a bogus name. Cops said they discovered several bogus headings, so now they are trying to find out who rental and rental these vehicles and who purchased the thieved vehicles.