NEWARK, N.J. —Two New York City police officers helped carry out a $1 million perfume heist at a New Jersey warehouse last month, acting like bumbling amateurs by using their own IDs to rent trucks that later tied them to the crimes, according to a federal complaint filed Friday.
The two officers, Richard LeBlanca and Brian Checo, were among five suspects who made their initial appearances in federal court Friday. All five, including former NYPD officer Orlando Garcia, were ordered held without bail.
They are charged with conspiracy to commit armed robbery, punishable by up to 20 years in prison.
"If these allegations are true, it would be a shame that New York's finest would be involved in conduct like this," Assistant U.S. Attorney Chris Gramiccioni said.
The heist occurred Feb. 9 at the In Style USA Inc. warehouse in Carlstadt, in the shadow of Giants Stadium. The company is a distributor of high-end perfumes and uses the warehouse to store products that are sold in Manhattan. Prosecutors estimate about $1 million worth of perfume was taken in several trucks.
Carlstadt police seized two trucks at the scene that had been rented that day in Jersey City by LeBlanca and Checo, who showed the rental agent their New York state driver's licenses, according to the complaint.
When told by the rental agent that the two couldn't leave their cars — a red Ford Mustang and silver BMW — at the rental lot due to company rules, two other suspects drove to the warehouse in the cars while LeBlanca and Checo each drove a truck, the rental agent told authorities. Later, an eyewitness described the silver BMW fleeing the scene.
Three additional trucks were rented in Brooklyn and used in the heist but have not been recovered, Gramiccioni said.
According to the complaint, LeBlanca and Checo burst into the warehouse and yelled, "NYPD! Hands up!" while waving guns and displaying badges.