Attorney General James Takes Down Car Theft Ring in the Bronx, Press Release, December 28, 2023

NEW YORK – Attorney General Letitia James announced today the indictment of brothers Ricky Paulino, 25, and Rahinier Paulino, 30, who have been charged with 16 crimes related to theft and possession of vehicles between January and October 2023. The indictment, unsealed in Bronx Supreme Court, came as a result of a joint investigation by the Attorney General’s Organized Crime Task Force (OCTF) and the New York City Police Department’s (NYPD) Auto Crime Division.

“For many New Yorkers, their car is their most valuable possession, and having it stolen can be devastating,” said Attorney General James. “These individuals used sophisticated methods to steal cars throughout New York City, but today we are bringing them to justice. I want to thank the NYPD and our partners in law enforcement for their assistance in this investigation to help protect New Yorkers.”

“These men were involved in a complex, high-tech undertaking that victimized innocent New Yorkers,” said NYPD Commissioner Edward A. Caban. “I commend the dedicated NYPD detectives from our Auto Crime Division who brought these vehicle thieves’ operation to a screeching halt, and I thank our many law enforcement colleagues – especially the investigators and prosecutors from the Attorney General’s Organized Crime Task Force – for recognizing the seriousness and intricacy of this case and helping to build a solid prosecution.”

As alleged in the indictment, from January to October 2023, Ricky Paulino stole at least four Honda vehicles throughout New York City. The investigation revealed that the stolen cars were identified and selected, and on the date of the theft, Paulino and others drove in a “follow car” to the parked location of the desired vehicle. Once they arrived, Paulino would break into the desired vehicle and reprogram the vehicle’s computer system to gain control of it. In a matter of minutes, Paulino was able to steal a vehicle without sounding alarms or drawing any attention, even in a dense urban setting. Paulino was also able to reprogram the vehicle to stop recognizing the true owners’ electronic keys, so that their keys stopped working. The stolen vehicles were then transported into the Bronx. Paulino’s crimes did not stop at New York’s borders. During one of the thefts, the follow car was tracked to a location in Massachusetts where the stolen vehicle was later observed and identified.

The investigation further revealed that Ricky Paulino and Rahinier Paulino acted together to sell a stolen vehicle in the Bronx. The investigation included covert cameras, as well as analysis of data from cellular telephones, license plate readers, vehicle infotainment, and tracking systems. Continue Press Release