LONDONDERRY, NH – Londonderry Police made one arrest in January and since then have issued half a dozen arrest warrants for people they believe are answerable for a complicated scheme to steal rental vehicles from the Enterprise Lease-A-Automotive on the Manchester Boston Regional Airport, and different rental businesses, utilizing fraudulent identities and bank cards.
Along with the arrest warrants, police say they’re nonetheless investigating to get possible trigger on about 4 or 5 others they’ve recognized as suspects to this point.
On Jan. 28, police caught one suspect within the act, they mentioned, once they arrested Liam Taggart, 22, of Medford, Mass. Police charged Taggart with theft by deception of greater than $1,501, a Class A felony; forgery of a authorities instrument or examine, a category B felony; and two counts of misdemeanor forgery.
He was arraigned and launched, although Londonderry Police Det. Narciso Garcia Jr. mentioned Taggart is probably going going through further costs for armed theft and fraud in Medford.
Garcia had been investigating reviews of automotive thefts from the airport Enterprise since October. Between then and April, 17 vehicles have been stolen totaling simply over $700,000 in value.
Up to now, they’ve been in a position to recuperate 16 of the stolen vehicles. One automotive was tracked to Virginia earlier than it made it again to New England and was recovered after a automotive chase in Everett, Mass. The individual driving it was not the identical one who stole it.
Garcia mentioned that’s usually the case as a result of these vehicles change arms usually. He mentioned they’re utilized by scammers to journey out of state to defraud banks, to commit burglaries and robberies with unassuming fashions that don’t elevate suspicions when seen by patrols, or offered and smuggled to consumers abroad.
The one rental automobile they nonetheless haven’t recovered is a luxurious SUV. Garcia mentioned they don’t know for positive however they believe that one was offered to such a purchaser.
He mentioned there’s one case he’s conscious of the place an individual drove a stolen rental automotive from Massachusetts to Minnesota to try to rip-off a bank out of an $80,000 line of credit score.
“These people will travel. That’s the other reason why they want these vehicles,” he mentioned.
Investigators say every theft entails a number of folks working behind the scenes.
“Usually they’re not alone, but there were one or two cases where they did act alone,” Garcia mentioned.
The thefts contain forgers, renters, individuals who keep hidden whereas they fee one other individual to make the transaction on the rental counter, spotters who cue renters to affix the push of passengers from a just lately debarked airplane, and consumers.
Typically the thieves are working with an impartial crew, different occasions they’re a part of a gang or a drug trafficking group.
“Different criminal enterprises are involved in the scam,” Garcia mentioned.
In accordance with Garcia’s analysis, this M.O. was first innovated by a Haitian gang in Miami, Florida, known as Zoe Pound. Since then, it has been adopted by copycats up the East Coast, with main hubs centered round New York and Boston.
As rental counters in Boston Logan Worldwide Airport acquired smart to the scheme, the thieves branched out to different cities and cities till they made their method as much as MHT, Garcia mentioned. Since police and rental staff stepped up their efforts, it appears the scammers have moved on to new targets.
“In the last three months, we’ve definitely slowed it down,” Garcia mentioned.
After the primary a number of thefts from the Manchester airport, Garcia developed a coaching for patrol officers and rental firm clerks to have the ability to spot fraudulent bank cards and IDs.
Det. Lt. Jason Breen mentioned Garcia’s coaching was instrumental in figuring out and arresting Taggart.
In accordance with the arrest warrant, Taggart was discovered with a pretend Texas driver’s license, a fraudulent Navy Federal Credit score Union bank card and two pretend $100 payments.
The bank identification quantity on the bank card belonged to a VISA account, and the driving force’s license had the title and deal with of a Texas man, the ID variety of a second Texas man however the picture and bodily descriptors of Taggart.