Three Suffolk men stole more than $170,000 in tires and rims from dozens of cars at dealerships, as well as appliances from homes under construction in a yearlong crime spree, prosecutors said Thursday.
Wesley Tyler, 32, of St. James, and Tyler McDonald, 19, of Farmingville were arraigned in a Central Islip courtroom on charges that include burglary, possession of stolen property, and auto-stripping offenses. The third defendant, Joseph Clarke, 23, of East Patchogue, will be arraigned next Friday.
The appliance thefts took place this year in eight homes under construction and one model home in Eastport, Manorville, East Moriches and Wading River, prosecutors said.VideoWatch a video on the caseStoryDA: Men stole from model homes, car dealersDataLI crime stats
Last year, the men also stole tires and rims from eight dealerships in Huntington, Smithtown, St. James, Medford and Middle Island, according to an indictment.
"The defendants rented U-Haul trucks to haul the rims and tires and the new appliances they stole during their burglaries," Suffolk County District Attorney Thomas Spota said in a statement.
Tyler and McDonald entered not-guilty pleas. McDonald's attorney Joe Cozzo of Central Islip said he and his client "vehemently deny those charges."
McDonald was released on his own recognizance. His next court date is June 25.
Tyler was held on $50,000 cash bail or $100,000 bond. His next court date is next Friday. His attorney, Craig Fleischer of Hauppauge, could not be reached.
At least one car dealership said Thursday it spent more than $50,000 to upgrade its security after it was burglarized by the trio for a second time, earlier this year. Two other dealerships were also burglarized again this year, the indictment said.
Nardy Honda's general sales manager Khalid Syed said the St. James dealership installed cameras with an audible warning system and 24-hour surveillance after more than $40,000 in losses.
"It's a loss for the dealership and the consumers that come in good faith to buy a car, and the car is not available," he said.