Exploited DMV Loophole; Sold Vehicles to Scrap Yard Without Title
A tow truck driver is facing grand larceny charges after removing legally parked cars from in front of the owners’ homes and selling them to a scrap yard, announced authorities.
Robert Lorenz, 48, of Dix Hills is charged with one count of third-degree grand larceny and 22 counts each of fourth-degree criminal possession of stolen property, first-degree falsifying business records and third-degree unauthorized use of a vehicle. If convicted, he faces up to seven years in prison.
Using a tow truck with the names “Kenny’s” or “Cobra Scrap” painted on the side, Lorenz allegedly hooked up 22 vehicles that had been legally parked on Queens streets and towed them to Allocco Metal Recycling on Kingsland Avenue in Brooklyn.
Since he didn’t own the vehicles, Lorenz exploited a loophole in state law that allowed him to sell vehicles worth less than $1,250 and at least eight years old to the scrap yard, despite not holding the title. Lorenz was paid between $300 and $500 per vehicle, which were then crushed.
“With the price of metal on the rise, the defendant is accused of exploiting a loophole in the Department of Motor Vehicles regulations which allow him to sell stolen cars to a scrap dealer without possessing the keys or titles to the vehicles – all of which were in drivable condition and had been reported missing by their legitimate owners,” said Queens District Attorney Richard Brown.
In some cases, the license plates were still affixed to the vehicles, said Brown. “For many of the car theft victims, the loss is doubly troubling in that they have both lost their primary source of transportation and will not be reimbursed for their loss due to the fact that they did not carry theft insurance because of the age of their vehicles,” he said.
“The suspect’s insatiable appetite for steel led to his arrest,” said NYPD Commissioner Raymond Kelly. “He had put the cars of unsuspecting Queens motorists on the hook for months. Now he’s on the hook.”