Ringleader of equipment theft ring gets 5 years in prison

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — The ringleader of a group that stole about $700,000 worth of construction equipment, boats, personal watercraft, all-terrain vehicles and trailers from dealers across New England has been sentenced to five years in prison, federal prosecutors said.

Jose Montes, who also goes by Jose Rivera, 37, of Cranston, from November 2019 until July 2020 organized a gang that under cover of darkness stole three Bobcat excavators, 10 personal watercraft, four boats, eight all-terrain vehicles, and 10 trailers from businesses in Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and New Hampshire, according to the U.S. attorney’s office in Rhode Island.

Some of the stolen equipment was recovered by police, but several items were transported to Florida and, sold and some remains unaccounted for, prosecutors said.

He was also sentenced Tuesday to three years of probation after pleading guilty in May to multiple counts of transporting stolen property across state lines.

A total of nine people were charged in the case.

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