RI man charged with stealing $700K worth of boats, ATVs, excavators

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — The alleged ringleader of a group accused of stealing about $700,000 worth of excavators, boats, personal watercraft, all-terrain vehicles, and trailers from dealers in four New England states has been captured in Florida, federal prosecutors say.

Jose Montes, also known as Jose Rivera, 36, of Cranston, was apprehended on Wednesday in Winter Park, Florida, according to a statement Friday from the U.S. attorney’s office in Rhode Island.

Montes has been detained until he can be returned to Rhode Island, prosecutors said.

He was one of nine people indicted in November on a variety of charges including interstate transportation of stolen property, receipt of stolen goods, and conspiracy to commit interstate transportation of stolen property.

The suspects often staked out the dealerships and marinas after dark looking to steal equipment, prosecutors said.

The group stole three Bobcat excavators, 10 personal watercraft, four boats, eight all-terrain vehicles, and 10 trailers valued at nearly $700,000 between November 2019 and July 2020 from businesses in South Kingstown and Tiverton, Rhode Island; Auburn, Rehoboth, and Easton, Massachusetts; Waterford, Vernon, and Stafford, Connecticut; and Hampstead, New Hampshire, prosecutors said.

Some items were hauled to Florida to be sold.

Montes’ attorney said he was just appointed to the case and doesn’t know enough yet to comment.

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