The high-tech car theft ring was most active between April and October of 2020. Their timing was in alignment with the emergence of the coronavirus pandemic, which left millions of New Yorkers' cars parked and unused for days at a time while home lockdowns were in place. Since the arrests, police have recovered 115 stolen vehicles.
The ring got bootleg car codes off the internet to create an electronic key for each vehicle they stole. Once they got inside the car, they reprogrammed the vehicle to the bootleg code and drove away, without setting off a single alarm.
The suspects drove the cars to several lots throughout the Bronx, and the reprogrammed car would no longer recognize the original owner’s keys.
Suspects Norberto Pena Brito, Jose Lebron Pimentel, Edwin Hidalgo Estevez, Dariberto Fernandez Perez, and Hector Rivera have been accused of reprogramming and stealing and selling the cars. Jesus Cabral would change the stolen car’s VINs and four other people were accused of playing major roles in the buying and selling of the stolen vehicles.
The high-tech New York car ring reprogrammed and stole locked cars right from their owners’ homes. Their crimes are a reminder that car theft can happen to anyone at any time, but there are a few steps you can take regularly to protect yourself and your vehicle against car theft.
To protect yourself against car theft:
Always lock your door after you finish driving.
Remove your keys from your vehicle and put them inside your home, instead of hiding them somewhere outside.
Close all your car windows whenever your car is parked.
Keep your car locked in your garage or install security cameras if you park your car outside.
Install a tracking system in your car.
Install or enable an audible car alarm that will sound if someone attempts to open your locked car door.
Install a steering wheel lock that will make driving away quickly impossible for a thief.
How your car insurance can help you fight car theft
While all of these precautions will definitely help you fight against car theft, there’s always a small possibility you might fall victim to this crime. If car theft happens to you, having the right insurance can save you time, stress, and money.
car insurance helps pay for repairs or replacements when your car gets damaged from a non-collision related cause or is stolen. If your car is stolen and you have comprehensive car insurance, your coverage will usually pay you the depreciated value of your car.
Prepare for the worst when it comes to car theft and get all the necessary coverage sooner rather than later. Don’t forget,
Alexandra Maloney is an insurance writer who specializes in vehicle rankings and basic insurance topics. Alexandra’s mission is to create articles that help car owners select the best vehicle and insurance coverage for their lifestyle, budget, and drive. Alexandra has written more than 300 articles for Jerry, ranging from vehicle safety topics to vehicle maintenance costs. Before joining Jerry, Alexandra studied journalism and business administration at the University of Richmond.