JPSO busts major auto theft ring on East bank - FOX 8 WVUE New Orleans News, Weather, Sports, Social

JPSO busts major auto theft ring on East bank

METAIRIE, LA (WVUE) -

Police saw a massive increase in the number of stolen cars in Jefferson Parish last year. Now they know why.

The Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office announced the indictments of 13 men, charged with a massive auto theft ring and chop shop operation.

According to Jefferson Parish Sheriff Newell Normand, the operation started in 2009 and involved everything from stealing cars to scrapping vehicles that were no longer useful.

"What we recognized was a systematic approach to these thefts and ultimate disposal of these vehicles that were in the hundreds, if not thousands of vehicles,” Normand said. “When you begin to add up the activity of all these defendants ... it's pretty significant.”

In the first quarter of 2015, JPSO deputies started seeing a significant amount of Ford, Chevy and GMC trucks and SUVs being stolen from the East Bank of Jefferson Parish.

“It is our investigative belief that a lot of these vehicles were determined to be stolen by members of this crew, well before they were … they'd go out and steal one-to-three vehicles a night,” Normand said. “They already knew those were the vehicles they intended to take."

According to the indictment, the accused car thieves had help from a former elected office, identified only as “Co-conspirator B.” That person was not named or charged in the indictment.

“As this thing progresses we're going to go wherever the evidence leads us,” Normand said.

Prosecutors say the ring is responsible for $2.4 million in losses for the victims from 2014-15 alone.

None of the men were singled out as the leader, but according to the indictment, some had specialized roles beyond just stealing cars.

Oliver “Paw-Paw” Green, for example, allegedly operated a body shop in Gentilly where stolen vehicles could be stripped down. Cardell Torrence allegedly specialized in stealing and disposing of Chevy Trailblazers and Diesel Trucks and Ronnel Kyles allegedly staged fake accidents to collect insurance payouts.

“When we talk about the level of sophistication … that these guys have been doing for a long long time … their criminal history has repeated itself,” Normand said. “This is their expertise and what they continued to go back to every time they rolled out of jail."

The indictment lists each man’s charges as follows:

Ronnel “Nel” Kyles, 29

  • Racketeering
  • Conspiracy to commit theft valued over $25,000
  • Theft valued between $5,000 and $25,000.

Kevin “Whoody” Martin, 29

  • Racketeering
  • Conspiracy to commit theft valued over $25,000.

Jimmie “Black” James, 28

  • Racketeering
  • Conspiracy to commit theft valued over $25,000
  • Seven counts of theft valued between $5,000 and $25,000
  • Alteration of a vehicle identification number

Jason Mercadal, 38

  • Racketeering
  • Conspiracy to commit theft valued over $25,000
  • Four counts of theft valued between $5,000 and $25,000
  • Alteration of a vehicle identification number

Cardell “Delly” Torrence, 39

  • Racketeering
  • Conspiracy to commit theft valued over $25,000
  • Theft valued between $5,000 and $25,000.

Brandon Evans, 30

  • Racketeering
  • Conspiracy to commit theft valued over $25,000
  • Five counts of theft valued between $5,000 and $25,000.

Patrick “Pat Pat” Robinson III, 27

  • Racketeering, Conspiracy to commit theft valued over $25,000
  • 11 counts of theft valued between $5,000 and $25,000
  • Alteration of a vehicle identification number

Patrick Robinson Jr., 49

  • Racketeering
  • Conspiracy to commit theft valued over $25,000
  • 11 counts of theft valued between $5,000 and $25,000
  • Alteration of a vehicle identification number

Keith Nero, 29

  • Racketeering
  • Conspiracy to commit theft valued over $25,000.

Parrish Norris, 41

  • Racketeering
  • Conspiracy to commit theft valued over $25,000

Oliver “Beanie or PawPaw" Green, 46

  • Racketeering
  • Conspiracy to commit theft valued over $25,000
  • Theft valued between $5,000 and $25,000

Shon Claiborne, 27

  • Racketeering
  • Conspiracy to commit theft valued over $25,000

Ronald Johnson, 29

  • Racketeering
  • Conspiracy to commit theft valued over $25,000

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