Guilty Plea in NYPD Perfume Heist Case

By Ryan Smith
|  Tuesday, May 18, 2010  |  Updated 8:45 PM EDT
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Guilty Plea in NYPD Perfume Heist Case

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A Brooklyn man pleaded guilty Tuesday to charges of conspiring to commit the armed robbery of a New Jersey perfume warehouse, alongside three NYPD officers who were charged as co-conspirators.

Prosecutors said Gabriel Vargas, 32, assembled a team of six men, including former NYPD Officer Orlando Garcia as well as current NYPD Officers Brian Checo and Richard LeBlanca, who all pleaded guilty in earlier hearings.

Vargas was the alleged leader of the Feb. 9 heist that targeted a Carlstadt, New Jersey warehouse run by In-Style USA, Inc.

In March, a fourth New York City police officer was charged in a separate complaint “as part of a continuing investigation by federal authorities into the heist,” according to United States Attorney Paul Fishman.

In court today, Vargas admitted that he and the other officers held 11 In-Style employees hostage during the robbery.

Prosecutors said nearly $600,000 worth of stolen perfume was loaded into rental trucks, and Vargas admitted to authorities that he drove the goods across state lines into New York.

Vargas faces a maximum of 20 years in prison on the robbery conspiracy charge and 10 years on the transportation of stolen goods charge. He will be sentenced on August 23.

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