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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of Rhode Island

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, August 3, 2021

Ringleader of Schemes to Steal and Sell Construction Equipment, Recreation Vehicles Sentenced

PROVIDENCE, R.I. – A Cranston man who organized and executed schemes to steal and sell nearly $700,000 worth of excavators, sport boats, jet skis, all-terrain vehicles, and trailers from dealerships and marinas in four New England states was sentenced today to five years in federal prison, announced Acting United States Attorney Richard B. Myrus.

From November 2019 through July 2020, Jose A. Montes, aka Jose Rivera, aka “Tuto”, 37, led one or more individuals under the cover of darkness to break into business and steal three Bobcat excavators, ten jet skis, four boats, eight all-terrain vehicles, and ten trailers. Some of the equipment was subsequently recovered by police; several of the items were hauled to Florida and sold; some items remain unaccounted for.

Montes previously admitted to the court that:

  • On October 22, 2019, Montes and a person he recruited forcibly entered a locked Rehoboth, MA, business and stole four jet skis and two double trailers valued at a total of nearly $52,000. Two of the watercrafts were later recovered in Cranston by the Cranston Police.
  • On November 18, 2019, Montes and another person cut the lock off a gate leading to a marina in South Kingstown and stole a 22-foot sport boat sitting atop a trailer, with a combined value at $30,000. The boat and trailer were later recovered by law enforcement in Sarasota, FL.
  • On December 28, 2019, Montes and two others forcibly entered a marina in Tiverton and stole two sport fishing boats sitting atop trailers, worth a total of nearly $201,000. The boats were towed to a property in Johnston. Montes later removed the engine from one boat in Scituate. The vessel was recovered by police. The second boat was towed to Sarasota, FL, where it was to be sold. It was located and seized by law enforcement.
  • Twice on the evening of April 10, 2020, and once the next evening, Montes forcibly entered a Bobcat dealership in Auburn, MA and loaded a Bobcat machine onto a trailer previously reported stolen in Massachusetts. The machines stolen on April 10, 2020, were taken to a property in North Scituate. The machine stolen on April 11, 2020 was brought to a property in Glocester. All three of the machines, valued at a total of $195,000, were recovered by law enforcement.
  • On April 12, 2020, Montes and another person forcibly entered a Vernon, CT, business where they pushed an all-terrain vehicle and three-wheeled street motor vehicle onto a trailer. Their attempt to steal the vehicles was interrupted, and the men fled as police responded to the area for an unrelated matter. Undeterred, the two men then traveled to a nearby business where they stole an all-terrain vehicle, a jet ski, and two trailers, valued at a total of $22,700.
  • On July 20, 2020, Montes and two men he recruited unlawfully entered a business in Easton, MA, and stole three jet skis and three trailers valued at a total of more than $17,500. One of the trailers was recovered by Easton Police in Providence.
  • On July 29, Montes and others stole from a Hampstead, NH, business four all-terrain vehicles, two jet skis, and two trailers, valued in total at $77,098. One of the all-terrain vehicles was located on August 2, 2020 but was subsequently stolen again after being towed by Providence Police. A week later Hampstead Police recovered one of the stolen all-terrain vehicles.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         

Montes pleaded guilty on May 12, 2021, to eight counts of interstate transportation of stolen property and three counts of conspiracy to commit interstate transportation of stolen property. He was sentenced today by U.S. District Court Judge Mary S. McElroy to 60 months in federal prison to be followed by three years of federal supervised release.

Eight additional defendants have been charged in this matter.

The cases are being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys William J. Ferland and Ly T. Chin.

The investigation was launched by the Johnston and North Providence Police Departments, and later joined by the FBI Safe Streets Task Force. The investigation merged with a parallel investigation being conducted by Rhode Island and Connecticut State Police, and the Easton, Mass., and the Hampstead, N.H., Police Departments.

Acting United States Attorney Myrus thanks the Tiverton, South Kingstown, Scituate, Cranston and Providence, R.I., and Auburn, Mass., Police Departments and the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office in Sarasota, FL, for their assistance in the investigations.

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Contact: 
Jim Martin (401) 709-5357
Press Release Number: 
21-92
Updated August 3, 2021