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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of Connecticut

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, July 19, 2022

Bronx Man Involved in Brazen Burglary Ring Sentenced to More Than 7 Years in Federal Prison

Vanessa Roberts Avery, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, announced that JOSEPHER Y. CARTAGENA, 26, of the Bronx, New York, was sentenced today by U.S. District Judge Michael P. Shea in Hartford to 90 months of imprisonment, followed by three years of supervised release, for his leadership of a brazen burglary ring that resulted in the theft of millions of dollars in vehicles, phones, ATMs and other merchandise from numerous locations in Connecticut, New York and elsewhere.

According to court documents and statements made in court, Cartagena and his brother, Alexander Santiago, led a theft ring that, between June 2020 and January 2021, primarily burglarized car dealerships and mobile phone stores in Connecticut and New York.  From dealerships, the group stole vehicle key fobs and vehicles, and from mobile phone stores they stole cell phones, electronics and other merchandise.  They also stole ATMs from check cashing businesses and burglarized video game stores.  Cartagena and Santiago planned and organized the burglary sprees, recruited others to participate in those burglaries, maintained inventories of the stolen property, sold that property, and then divided the proceeds among the participants.  Cartagena used his residence to stockpile stolen merchandise and illicit proceeds.

Cartagena, Santiago and their associates committed more than 180 burglaries and stole more than $4 million in property.

Cartagena, Santiago and their associates often burglarized multiple locations in one night and, on numerous occasions, escaped from police by engaging the police in high-speed chases that had to be terminated for safety reasons.  An apparent tally found on Santiago’s phone after his arrest indicated that he had engaged police in 89 chases.

The investigation also revealed that Cartagena and some of his associates possessed firearms during the conspiracy.

On December 23, 2020, when investigators attempted to apprehend Cartagena in the Bronx, Cartagena drove his vehicle onto a sidewalk, struck a law enforcement officer’s vehicle causing injuries to the officer, and then accelerated toward another law enforcement officer who was on foot and had to run out of the way.  He then drove to a gas station, exited his own damaged vehicle, stole a Jeep that was being cleaned at the gas station, and escaped at a high-rate of speed into oncoming traffic.

At the gas station, officers recovered a black bag that Cartagena had dropped.  The bag contained a 9mm handgun and assorted tools.  Officers then searched Cartagena’s residence and seized hundreds of thousands of dollars in stolen merchandise, more than 30 vehicle keys and key fobs, 9mm ammunition, and approximately $87,000 in cash.

After additional high-speed chases and collisions with law enforcement vehicles later that day, Cartagena was arrested at approximately 10 p.m. that evening, in the Washington Heights neighborhood of Manhattan

Cartagena has been detained since his arrest.  On February 3, 2022, he pleaded guilty to possession of stolen property.

Santiago was arrested on January 15, 2021.  When investigators sought to conduct a court-authorized search of Santiago’s residence on that date, Santiago’s pit bull attacked an FBI agent and badly wounded his arm.  Santiago was arrested, and a search of the residence revealed approximately 20 new cell phones in boxes, approximately 40 vehicle key fobs, a police radio, a glass-punch device, two firearms and a substantial amount of ammunition.

Santiago pleaded guilty and, on May 17, 2022, he was sentenced to 90 months of imprisonment.

On May 2, 2022, Douglas Noble, of New York, was sentenced to 54 months of imprisonment for his role in this conspiracy.  Two other co-conspirators were charged with offenses stemming from this scheme.

This investigation is being conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Connecticut State Police, with the assistance of approximately 30 local police departments.  The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Robert S. Ruff and Ray Miller.

Topic(s): 
Violent Crime
Component(s): 
Updated July 19, 2022