N.Y. Thieves Favored Construction Vehicles, Luxury Cars

Authorities say they have busted a theft ring that specialized in heavy construction equipment and luxury vehicles, such as Hummers and Porsches. At least 100 vehicles were stolen.

The vehicles — worth about $2.5 million — were shipped to New Jersey, North Carolina, Florida, Pennsylvania and as far away as the Dominican Republic, Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly said Wednesday at a news conference with Attorney General Andrew Cuomo.

Investigators have recovered 17 of the stolen vehicles so far. A blue dump truck valued at $75,000 was sold for $3,000 on the black market, investigators said.

"Some people try to smuggle jewels out of the country. These individuals tried to sneak off with Caterpillars and Hummers," Kelly said. "What they lacked in finesse they tried to compensate with audacity, but it made no difference."

In one instance, thieves drove a Caterpillar off a construction site and along the New York State Thruway before parking in a garage used to store the stolen vehicles. In another, a barge with stolen goods en route to the Dominican Republic was stopped before it reached port.

Eleven people pleaded not guilty Wednesday to charges including enterprise corruption, forgery and criminal possession of stolen property. Another was arrested in New Jersey and was awaiting extradition.