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2nd suspect in equipment theft ring pleads guilty

March 29, 2021 GMT

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — One of nine people charged in connection with the thefts of excavators, boats, personal watercraft, all-terrain vehicles, and trailers worth a total of $700,000 from dealers in four New England states pleaded guilty on Monday, federal prosecutors said.

Jared Santiago, 28, of Providence, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit interstate transportation of stolen property and interstate transportation of stolen property, according to a statement from the U.S. attorney’s office in Rhode Island. Sentencing was scheduled for May 21.

The group stole three Bobcat excavators, 10 personal watercraft, four boats, eight all-terrain vehicles, and 10 trailers 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.

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Police recovered many in Rhode Island using GPS devices built into the equipment. Some items were hauled to Florida to be sold.

Under his plea, Santiago admitted that in December 2019 he participated in the theft of two boats — a 24-foot (7.3-meter) boat valued at $102,065, and a 22-foot (6.7-meter) boat valued at $90,914 — from Don’s Marina in Tiverton, and transported one of the boats to Florida, prosecutors said.

He is the second of nine people indicted to plead guilty. The rest, including the alleged ringleader of the group, are awaiting trial.