Police arrest 19 in alleged Brooklyn-based auto-theft ring

BROOKLYN - Authorities say they arrested 19 people today following a nine-month investigation into an auto-theft ring originating out of Brooklyn.

According to police, $10 million worth of luxury cars were stolen off the streets throughout the borough and then resold to places as far away as Africa. They say the head of the operation is 28-year-old William Cruz, of Brooklyn, who gave orders from behind bars at Rikers Island.

Officials say that workers at a Nostrand Avenue auto plaza and Plaza Toyota in Midwood were among those arrested. They say the dealership employees would get counterfeit keys made for specific cars and within minutes, the vehicles would be off the streets and on a tanker headed overseas.

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