3 April 2024: Manhattan, New York

Eight men were charged on April 3 with stealing hundreds of thousands of dollars’ worth of Modelo and Corona beer that is imported from Mexico. The group worked by robbing train yards and warehouses in dozens of thefts across the Northeast during the past two years. An indictment unsealed by federal prosecutors in Manhattan accuses Jose Cesari as being the leader of what it describes as the “Beer Theft Enterprise.” He reportedly recruited other participants via Instagram posts. The group usually operated at night, the indictment says, with some members meeting in the Bronx before traveling to rail yards or beverage distribution warehouses to steal from them. One or more of those charged drove a vehicle to the targeted facility to be filled with cases of stolen beer, the indictment says. Often, a U-Haul box truck was used. After arriving, the indictment says, they would break into the rail yard or warehouse, sometimes by cutting a hole in fencing, and then drive the truck onto the property. Cesari, 27, was charged with conspiracy to steal from interstate or foreign shipments by carrier and six other counts. Seven others face the same conspiracy charge.