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Richard E. Lucas III’s taste for stealing cars gradually became more lavish.

What began as thefts of a Dodge Challenger and Charger from an Amherst dealership in December 2022 culminated – nine stolen vehicles later – with a Bentley, Mercedes-Benz G-Class and BMW M8 from a Clarence dealership last September.

In all, Lucas, a 21-year-old from Cheektowaga, stole 14 vehicles – with a total value of about $1.1 million – over 10 months.

Early Sunday morning, someone sneaked into the Mercedes Benz dealership in Clarence and stole the key box that contained the keys to all of the used cars on the lot.

A release Monday from the Erie County District Attorney’s Office revealed the far-flung nature of his crimes, relative lack of discrimination in make and model, and “reckless” efforts to evade law enforcement’s grasp.

Lucas pleaded guilty Friday to 15 felony charges across eight criminal cases. He faces a maximum of 15 years in prison when sentenced April 19, according to the DA’s report. Lucas has been held without bail since late September.

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The cases were broken down into two indictments, for which Lucas was arraigned Sept. 7 and Sept. 29. These carried a range of charges in addition to those for stealing vehicles in Rochester and Orchard Park, respectively.

But as part of his plea agreement, Lucas assumed guilt for six other car thefts – some involving multiple vehicles – which showed the breadth and depth of his thievery.

The serial thief focused his efforts mostly in the Northtowns, according to the DA’s report. He stole cars from Grand Island, Amherst, the Town of Tonawanda and finished with back-to-back heists in Clarence.

Half of the 14 vehicles were made by Dodge, including four Hellcats that ranged between $80,000 and more than $90,000, while the most luxurious vehicles he stole were the 2021 Bentley Continental, valued at $235,850, and a 2022 Mercedes-Benz G-Class AMG, valued at $204,850, both from a dealership on Main Street in Clarence. The least valuable vehicle Lucas stole? A 2017 Dodge Challenger, worth about $22,400.

The vehicles were recovered at different locations, mostly in Buffalo, but also at two different addresses in West Seneca and two by the Buffalo Niagara International Airport.

For these, Lucas admitted guilt to nine charges: five counts of second-degree grand larceny, two counts of third-degree burglary and two counts of second-degree criminal mischief, the DA’s Office said. 

Details from the two indictments showed how aggressive Lucas was in trying to evade capture.

The first indictment stemmed from Lucas’ theft of a 2022 Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat on March 1, 2023, on West Henrietta Road in Rochester. The vehicle was tracked to Lucas’ apartment and garage in an apartment complex on Indian Church Road in West Seneca, where investigators secured a search warrant on March 2 and, shortly after midnight the next day, found the Hellcat with a damaged front passenger door and rearview mirror – but did not locate Lucas, the DA’s Office said. Investigators also found 5½ pounds of cannabis inside Lucas’ apartment.

Lucas was arrested outside of his West Seneca apartment April 6, the DA’s Office said. A physical struggle occurred when officers tried to arrest him, leaving a detective with an injured shoulder. After his arraignment and release on supervision, Lucas pleaded guilty Sept. 7 to felony charges of second-degree criminal possession of stolen property, second-degree attempted assault, third-degree criminal mischief and second-degree criminal possession of cannabis, as well as a misdemeanor for third-degree unauthorized use of a motor vehicle. 

Lucas was indicted a second time Sept. 29 after stealing a 2021 Dodge Challenger Hellcat from an Orchard Park dealership June 6, the DA’s Office said. About a month later, an Orchard Park police detective spotted Lucas driving the Hellcat near Transit Road and Seneca Street in Elma, which led to a high-speed chase that zoomed through a field and “over a ditch” before it was called off in East Aurora, the report continued.

The Erie County Sheriff’s Office located the 2021 Hellcat in Buffalo, the DA’s Office said, adding that Lucas’ DNA was linked to the crime. He pleaded guilty to two felonies – second-degree criminal possession of stolen property, second-degree criminal mischief – as well as two misdemeanors.

Ben Tsujimoto can be reached at, at (716) 849-6927 or on Twitter at @Tsuj10.

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