Crime & Courts

Three Californians arrested in theft of trailer-loads of goods

Three people from North Hollywood, Calif., have been arrested in an alleged scheme in which semi-trailer loads of goods were stolen from companies in California and an attempt to steal a load of processed beef was made in southwest Kansas, U. S. Attorney Barry Grissom said Wednesday.

Two of the three people, Oganes Nagapetian, 53, and his wife, Larisa Nagapetian, 46, are scheduled to be arraigned on a federal indictment in the U.S. District Court in Wichita on June 4; the third defendant, Tigran Nagapetian, 50, a brother of Oganes Nagapetian, appeared Tuesday before a U.S. magistrate judge in Los Angeles. He also is scheduled to appear for arraignment in Kansas on June 4.

All three are charged in the Kansas federal indictment, Grissom said.

The indictment, which was returned by a federal grand jury in Wichita on April 23, alleges that the defendants conspired in November 2011 to steal a load of beef from the Tyson Fresh Meats plant in Holcomb. The brothers dropped off a trailer to be loaded but never came back to pick it up because they thought they were under law enforcement surveillance.

In the weeks before the attempted Holcomb theft, loads of shoes, fans and almonds were stolen from three companies in California, according to the indictment.

The indictment alleges that the three conspired to use the identity of a legitimate trucking company in Pennsylvania to bid on hauling the load of Kansas beef to California through a freight broker based in Ohio. Once the hauling contract was awarded, a man allegedly fitting the description of Oganes Nagapetian but using a counterfeit California commercial drivers license in another person’s name dropped off a trailer at the Tyson plant in Holcomb to be loaded. The man never returned, according to the indictment.

The indictment charges all three defendants with conspiracy to commit wire fraud and to steal shipments of freight, which carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison.

Oganes Nagapetian and Tigran Nagapetian also are charged with wire fraud, which has a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison, and aggravated identity theft, which has a statutorily-required sentence of two years in prison.

In addition, Oganes Nagapetian, a lawful permanent resident from Russia, faces various document fraud charges. Tigran Nagapetian is a naturalized U.S. citizen from Armenia, as is Larisa Nagapetian.