A New Rochelle man is being held at the Westchester County Jail for a series of car thefts that have taken place on Reservoir Road in Katonah and on Chesnut Ridge Road in the Arthur Butler Sanctuary since March of this year.
Julio Cesar Alvarez-Lua, 28, faces multiple charges associated with the break-ins, according to Bedford Police Det. Sgt. Thomas Diebold, including three felonies and four misdemeanors.
The investigation spanned six months and included in-person and camera surveillance, said Diebold, who said the department received 15 reports from March until the end of August. Eleven were a result of forced entry and four were from unlocked cars, with the .
After months of investigative work, Detectives Larry Haynes and Joseph Communale were able to identify a 2008 blue Honda Accord as the suspect vehicle from their surveillance. A break in the case came last week when Police Officer John Evans spotted the car driving eastbound on Route 172.
Evans conducted a traffic stop for tinted windows on the northbound ramp of I-684. He brought Alvarez-Lua back to police headquarters where police charged him with traffic violations including a failure to signal, driving with tinted windows, having expired insurance, not wearing seat belts, unlicensed driving and second-degree criminal possession of a forged instrument for having a fake Washington state license.
Police impounded Alvarez-Lua's car and after searching the vehicle, detectives recovered property on record as stolen in previous car thefts. They also obtained a search warrant for his home in New Rochelle and were able to recover additional property there allegedly associated with thefts in Bedford and in other jurisdictions where thefts are currently being investigated.
Alvarez-Lua now faces additional felony charges including criminal possession of a forged instrument for the license, third-degree grand larceny for theft of over $3,000 in property and fourth-degree grand larceny for the theft of credit cards, as well as two counts of fifth-degree criminal possession of stolen property and fourth-degree criminal mischief for breaking windows, both misdemeanors.
Diebold said he was confident that Alvarez-Lua was responsible for the majority of the break-ins.
"We won't let cases like this go un-investigated," he said. "This arrest was the result of very good investigative work by the detectives and patrol detail—definitely one for the good guys."
Alvarez-Lua is being held on a $25,000 bond or $15,000 cash.