D’oh, the cops rented the truck with their own credit cards-whoops. Otherwise that sounds like a great plan. As the investigation gets deeper it’ll be interesting to find out what these cops planned to do with the $1 million worth of perfume?
Eau de ‘rogue cops’
Dopey perfume heist
www.nypost.com | By MURRAY WEISS, KEVIN FASICK and LUKAS I. ALPERT | March 6, 2010 | Additional reporting by Erin Calabrese
It was drawn up like a slick Hollywood heist caper — but the ending was pure Keystone Kops.
A posse made up of two NYPD cops, a retired officer and six other bandits roped in 16 unwitting day laborers and set out for a major score — unloading $1 million in high-end perfumes from a New Jersey warehouse, federal prosecutors said yesterday.
But the plan imploded when the crooked officers used their real IDs to rent trucks used to carry the loot, authorities said.
Such was the misadventure of officers Richard LeBlanca, 25, and Brian Checo, 24, both of the 34th Precinct, and their childhood pal, former cop Orlando Garcia, 35, who launched their harebrained scheme on Feb. 9.
First they assembled a crew and rented the trucks in Brooklyn and New Jersey, but cluelessly gave real driver’s licenses and credit cards.
“Mastermind is not applicable in this case,” noted one law-enforcement source.
Then they hired the Spanish-speaking day laborers, who the feds say had no idea they were taking part in a large-scale heist, to help load the trucks with hundreds of boxes of fancy fragrances, like Versace, Christian Dior and Fendi, prosecutors said.
The crew bust into In Style USA’s warehouse in Carlstadt around 6 p.m., with the cops pulling their badges and guns and shouting, “NYPD! Hands up!” prosecutors said.
The robbers bound the workers and had the day laborers load the trucks.
Then they removed a hard drive containing the surveillance footage and several thousand dollars from an office.
Several of the bandits drove off in the trucks, a red Ford Mustang and a silver BMW that belongs to Checo, while leaving alleged accomplices Anselmo Jimenes, 29, and Luis Morales, 31, behind with the laborers to fill the remaining trucks.
About three hours after the robbery began, local cops responded to a 911 call made by someone in the warehouse. The day laborers shouted, “Policia!” and the remaining thieves tried to scatter, but were arrested, prosecutors said.
Investigators traced the vehicles to LeBlanca and Checo through the rental agencies — and the two were placed under NYPD surveillance for almost a month to determine if the corruption was more widespread.
The cops, Garcia and two others were arrested yesterday and charged with conspiracy to commit armed robbery. They were held without bail.