News and Press Releases

Owner of trucking company stole car from Customs Warehouse at Port of Seattle

November 14, 2008

ERIC RANGELOFF, 47, of Seattle, Washington, was sentenced today in U.S. District Court in Seattle for Removing Goods from Customs Custody. RANGELOFF was convicted in July following a six day trial. U.S. District Judge John C. Coughenour ordered RANGELOFF to serve 10 days in prison and pay a $3,000 fine. Judge Coughenour rejected the probationary sentence requested by RANGELOFF.

According to Court records and trial testimony, RANGELOFF owns several businesses that operate out of the Port of Seattle, namely Western Cartage, Seattle Bulk Rail, and Seattle Transload. These businesses are involved in the transport of goods, including imported and exported goods.

The jury convicted RANGELOFF of removing a 1983 Rolls Royce Silver Sedan from a locked cage in a Customs warehouse at the Port of Seattle. According to trial testimony, the owner bought the Rolls Royce from the Saudi Royal family, and the car had been customized for use by a Saudi princess. United States Customs had refused to allow the owner to import the car into the United States because it did not meet U.S. safety and emission standards. The owner planned to leave the car in Customs’ custody until the car qualified as an antique and was no longer subject to those standards.

The Government contended that, at some point in 2004, RANGELOFF broke into the Customs warehouse and used a forklift to steal the Rolls Royce and then hid the car at his business, which was adjacent to the Customs warehouse. RANGELOFF had the car at his business for several weeks. On December 10, 2004, RANGELOFF attempted to sell the car to a third party. A Port of Seattle maintenance worker saw the car being loaded onto the buyer’s trailer and recognized it as the missing Rolls Royce. The maintenance worker called the Port of Seattle Police Department, which seized the vehicle. United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement (“ICE”) later assumed jurisdiction over the case.

In their sentencing memo, prosecutors urged prison time for RANGELOFF saying, “He showed little respect for the law in committing this crime and even less by testifying falsely about it at trial.” Judge Coughenour said at sentencing that his view of the case changed with prosecutors excellent cross examination of RANGELOFF about his version of events.

The case was investigated by ICE and the Port of Seattle Police Department. The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Matthew H. Thomas and Michael Dion.

For additional information please contact Emily Langlie, Public Affairs Officer for the United States Attorney’s Office, at (206) 553-4110.

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