Kathleen G. Kane - Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General - Protecting Pennsylvanians

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December 10, 2009

Attorney General Corbett & PA State Police announce break-up of South Western PA motorcycle theft ring

 

 Joshua Alvarez
 

 

 Zachary Benning
 

 

 Adam Wareham
 

 

 Michael Flament
 

 

 David Grillo
 

HARRISBURG - A motorcycle theft ring, responsible for stealing approximately $80,000 worth of bikes in south western Pennsylvania, was broken-up today by agents from the Attorney General's Office and Pennsylvania State Police.

Attorney General Tom Corbett said the investigation focused on Joshua Alvarez, of Monogahela, Washington County, and four other men, who assisted Alvarez in stealing, stripping and selling stolen motorcycles and ATV's. Street cycles and ATV's were allegedly stolen from locations in Allegheny, Washington and Westmoreland counties.

Corbett said that members of the group also allegedly staged vehicle thefts for the purpose of filing fraudulent insurance claims.

The charges state that Alvarez worked at Bentley's Cycles, 589 W Pike St., Canonsburg, Washington County, and used his position to acquire customer addresses, who then became his theft victims.

According to the criminal complaint, Alvarez's main accomplice in the thefts was Zachary Benning, who helped him steal motorcycles left unattended at area residences. On at least four occasions, Alvarez and Benning allegedly stole cycles from cycles from residential garages.

Corbett said that stolen motorcycles and ATVs were transported to Benning's garage where the two allegedly stored them until they could be resold or stripped for parts.

According to the criminal complaint, Alvarez and Benning used Adam Wareham, who operated Road Rash, a cycle repair shop in North Huntingdon, to sell the stolen motorcycles and parts.

"Alvarez and Benning are charged with stealing an ATV and at least five motorcycles," Corbett said. "However, our investigation into the theft of motorcycles in western Pennsylvania continues and more arrests are anticipated."

"Members of the Pennsylvania State Police Western Auto Theft Task Force have been diligent in their investigation of this theft ring," said State Police Commissioner Frank E. Pawlowski.  "They will continue to work closely with the Attorney General's Office to the completion of the probe."

Other suspects who allegedly assisted Alvarez and Benning in storing and selling stolen vehicles were identified as Adam Wareham, Michael Flament and David Grillo.

According to the criminal complaint, Wareham orchestrated a staged theft of an automobile to provide a basis for a bogus $7,700 insurance claim by his step-brother.  Flament also allegedly faked the theft of his pick-up truck for the purpose of filing a fraudulent insurance claim for approximately $5,000.

Corbett noted that this is part of an ongoing investigation.

Corbett thanked the Pennsylvania State Police Auto Theft Task Force for their assistance with the investigation.

The case will be prosecuted in Washington County by Senior Deputy Attorney General J. Scott Robinette of the Attorney General's Insurance Fraud Section.

Below is a list of the defendants and the charges against them.

--Joshua Alvarez, 22, 196 Coyle Curtain Road, Monongahela, Washington County, is charged with six counts of theft by unlawful taking, four counts of burglary, two counts of criminal conspiracy and one count of corrupt organizations.

--Zachary Benning, 22, 70 Dairy Road, Charleroi, Washington County, is charged with six counts of theft by unlawful taking, four counts of burglary, two counts of criminal conspiracy and one count of corrupt organizations.

--Adam Wareham, 34, 348 Hunker Waltz Mill Road, Hunker, Westmoreland County, is charged with four counts of receiving stolen property, one count of theft by deception, one count of insurance fraud, one count of criminal conspiracy and one count of corrupt organizations.

--Michael Flament, 22, 27 Spruce Alley, Monongahela, Washington County, is charged with two counts of receiving stolen property, two counts of insurance fraud, one count of criminal attempt, one count of criminal conspiracy and one count of false reports to law enforcement authorities.

--David Grillo, 19, 911 4th St., Charleroi, Washington County, is charged with one count of receiving stolen property and one count of criminal conspiracy.

(A person charged with a crime is presumed innocent until proven guilty.)

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