LONDON, England, Tuesday July 26, 2016 – Two Englishmen who allegedly stole motorcycles based on what clients needed and then shipped them out to Trinidad and Tobago for sale, have been jailed for their role in what prosecutors described as a professional and sophisticated enterprise.
Ellis Thomas, 33, who was pinpointed as the head honcho of the operation, was slapped with six-year and four-year concurrent jail terms on two counts of conspiracy.
His partner in crime, 47-year-old Mario White, a criminal associate who acted as an intermediary between Thomas and the international exportation of vehicles, primarily to Trinidad and Tobago. was jailed for two years on one count of conspiracy to handle stolen goods and one count of possession of a taser.
Thomas, the former director of ECU Master and current owner of Crazy Custom Quads, was arrested at his home address following an investigation targeting his criminal enterprise, during which 12 stolen motorcycles were seized by the City of London Police. This included the recovery of two new BMW S1000RR vehicles recovered from Portsmouth Docks, due for shipment to Trinidad. These vehicles had earlier been stolen as part of a high-value commercial burglary in Essex.
In total, more than £100,000 (US$131,343) worth of stolen vehicles have been attributed to Thomas’ criminal enterprise, with 50 vehicles detailed in evidence during the trial, many of which remain unidentified and unrecovered.
The court heard how Thomas operated a fixed-price structure for stolen motorcycles, based on the age and cubic capacity (cc) of the vehicles offered. Thomas was in constant communication with thieves and couriers, who would regularly provide information on which stolen bikes were “available” at any one time.
Evidence presented also showed that Thomas had the capability to have vehicles stolen to “order”.
City of London Police Detective Constable Steve Weller said Thomas was at the heart of an organised criminal group that was responsible for the theft and handling of motorcycles, primarily superbikes.
“Thomas acted as a middleman between the thieves and any prospective buyers, becoming a pivotal node within the regional motorcycle crime network,” he said.
“Thomas used his expertise in re-programming the Engine Control Unit (ECU) to mobilise vehicles stolen without their keys. Thomas was able to offer stolen motorbikes for export or resale, at a substantial undervalue, by defeating the security measures put in place by the manufacturers to mitigate this illegal trade.”
City of London Police began investigating Thomas and his operations after witnessing an increasing trend of thefts of motorcycles across the City in 2014, leading to the execution of warrants.
A third man was charged with one count of conspiracy to handle stolen goods and was found not guilty after trial.