A Bergen County man has been indicted on charges that he stole cars, generators, and other equipment and sold them at inflated prices after Superstorm Sandy, Acting Attorney General John J. Hoffman announced in a release Friday.
According to Hoffman, Louis R. Milito, 40, whose last known address was in Edgewater, was charged Thursday with second-degree theft by unlawful taking, third-degree issuing bad checks, and third-degree fencing. Authorities allege that between November of 2011 and December of 2012 Milito stole a 2012 Dodge Ram, a 2011 Toyota Sienna, nine generators, four demolition hammers, three breaker hammers, four brute hammers, and various other power tools, altogether worth about $130,908.
Milito allegedly rented the items from car rand power tool rental companies in Morris, Hudson, Bergen, Sussex, Warren, Essex and Hunterdon Counties and a few locations in New York, and then reported them stolen to police so he would not have to return the merchandise to the companies, Hoffman said.
The indictment also says that after Sandy hit, Milito trafficked three of the stolen generators for $12,563, the release said.
Milito is also accused of knowingly writing bad checks to pay to rent the equipment, it said.
Hoffman said the state’s investigation began after Milito was charged in several places with theft of some of the items.
“By selling much-coveted generators that he knew were stolen, this defendant illegally profited from Superstorm Sandy, a catastrophic phenomenon that left so many people in New Jersey devastated,” Hoffman said in the release.
“This office has devoted much time and many resources investigating and prosecuting those who used Superstorm Sandy for their own financial gains, and we will continue to do so for as long as it takes to root out such criminal behavior.”
Milito face up to 20 years in prison and $180,000 in fines if convicted, Hoffman said.