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 |  May 26 2011, 6:10 AM

An international gang of thieves operating in New York City managed to steal nearly 300 vehicles, shipping them off around the globe before finally being busted by police.

The 19 thieves targeted luxury SUVs such as Range Rovers, taking orders for specific models from potential buyers around the country and overseas. The crew would then go about producing illegal paperwork, including fake titles and registrations. Two Toyota dealer employees gave master key codes to locksmiths to unlock the vehicles. Within 48 hours, the stolen cars would have their VINs stripped and be bound for destinations as far-reaching as Africa, Yemen, and Afghanistan, complete with forged paperwork.

The NYPD’s auto crimes division took 10 months to investigate the group before making arrests, and now ringleader William Cruz is awaiting trial at Rikers Island, along with 2nd-in-command Michael Torres.

[Source: NY Daily News]