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'Ocean's Eleven' - style heist leads to three indictments, Queens DA says

Queens County District Attorney Melinda Katz.

Queens County District Attorney Melinda Katz. Credit: Sipa USA via AP/Lev Radin

Three Queens men were indicted after allegedly stealing several hundred thousand dollars' worth of property at a Suffolk County warehouse during "an elaborate Ocean’s Eleven"-style heist, the Queens District Attorney's Office said. Authorities did not disclose what was taken from the warehouse.

Christopher Tsang, 44 of College Point; Joe Lin, 40, of Flushing; and Chung Wei Wang, 38, of Oakland Gardens, were arraigned on a 10-count indictment in Queens Supreme Court on Wednesday and were charged with second-degree burglary , four counts of first-degree robbery, four counts of second-degree robbery and fourth-degree conspiracy.

"These defendants are accused of orchestrating an elaborate ‘Ocean’s Eleven’–style plot to rip off a warehouse and rake in hundreds of thousands of dollars. The alleged ringleaders arrested yesterday met at illegal gambling parlors, a movie theater parking lot and other locations in Queens to plan the logistics of their heist," Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz said in a press release.

"The plot twist here – the heist flopped and the accused are facing prison time if convicted," Katz added.

Allegedly wearing masks and decked out in fake NYPD-branded tactical gear, the defendants stormed into a West Babylon warehouse waving weapons on July 18, Katz said. Two warehouse workers had hoods placed over their heads and were restrained with zip ties. Two other delivery workers were also restrained with zip-ties. The defendants then allegedly fled with about 100 boxes from the warehouse in unmarked trucks and vans.

Members of the New York City Police Department and the Queens District Attorney’s office used surveillance, court-authorized wiretaps and other investigative tools to uncover the plot, which involves other unidentified co-conspirators.

New York City police executed search warrants at the Queens homes of Tsang, Wang and Ling on Wednesday. Police allegedly seized up to $50,000 in cash and 100 pounds of marijuana from Lin’s home. When cops searched Wang’s home, they allegedly found an unloaded .22 firearm, eight tasers, zip ties, police-like paraphernalia, and approximately $120,000 in cash. Police also allegedly removed an inoperable firearm and about $8,500 from Tsang’s home.

The three defendants allegedly began hatching the scheme in early July. They met at a reputed gambling parlor on Cherry Avenue in Flushing, around midnight on July 2. The trio also convened at a movie theater parking lot with several other co-conspirators in College Point on July 7 at 11 p.m. There, Tsang doled out orders while referring to a scroll, according to Katz.

The following day, Tsang and Lin drove and scoped out the West Babylon warehouse on Route 109 from a nearby supermarket. On July 9, the group gathered at a movie theater parking lot in College Point and reviewed photos of the warehouse.

Tsang, Wang and another unidentified man also met up on 30th Street in Long Island City on July 11, according to the district attorney. They were allegedly wearing dark clothing, masks and gloves.

Their next court appearance is scheduled for Jan. 10.

Lin’s lawyer, Patrick Brackley, said his client is a Flushing restaurant owner and father.

"There is much more to this case than the DA is indicating and we will vigorously fight it," Brackley said. Attorneys for the other two defendants did not immediately return calls for comment.

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