Stolen vehicle task force now operating in Monroe County

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. — A police taskforce devoted solely to finding cars that have been stolen and the people who took them is now operating in Monroe County. 

The stolen car task force is a collaboration between the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office, New York State Police, Monroe County Probation, and the police departments of Rochester, Greece, Irondequoit, and East Rochester. So far, the task force has made 14 felony arrests and seven misdemeanor arrests, issued 102 traffic citations and recovered 11 vehicles since it began in July. 

“We have an analyst that is attached to this detail and she gives us information on hot spots, where the cars are being stolen, where they’re being dropped off, dates and times during the week where this is most prevalent, so we try to focus on that,” explains Lt. John Watson of the Monroe County Sheriff’s Department, who leads the team.  In addition to that, the taskforce listens for active thefts and scours online sites for tips. 

As News10NBC recently reported, the subway tunnel in Rochester has become a popular place for thieves to abandon stolen vehicles. “We went down there with a team hoping to obviously apprehend some suspects too, unfortunately there was nobody down there but we did get three stolen vehicles, two of which were stolen that day,” Watson says.

In many of the cases, the suspects are between the ages of 14-16.  When investigators catch up with them, they have to find a parent or guardian before determining what to do next and that can take time. “I’ve had parents beg me to put their kids in jail, they ask for help and we’re finally able to give it to them because they’re scared for their kids and they know sometimes the best place for them is detention where they know they are safe,” explains James Coco, an Investigator with the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office who is assigned to the taskforce. “We’ve also had the other extreme where we can’t find the parent but for the most part, I’ve had very good cooperation with the parents on getting the kids the resources we can get them.”

As far as the rightful owners getting back their vehicles, “some of them are not operable and some we’ve gotten back and give them right back to the owner and we’re good but a lot of times we do find them smashed up pretty well, or abandoned somewhere; it’s about 50/50,” Investigator Coco says.

The task force also arrested two people who they say used a stolen car in multiple retail thefts throughout the county. According to investigators, a Nissan was stolen on June 4 and then spotted on the morning on July 27, the day after it was used in a theft in East Rochester. Undercover members of the task force followed the car to a home in the City of Rochester and arrested two suspects, 35-year-old Javier Davilarodriquez and 36-year-old Kayla Oakes.

Both Rochester residents are charged with criminal possession of stolen property and were taken to the Monroe County Jail. Oakes was wanted for grand larceny in Ontario County.

The Monroe County Sheriff’s Office says the stolen car task force will continue for the foreseeable future.