By Kelly Wheeler
City News Service
Two men accused of stealing three expensive cars over the past year — including a Ford GT worth at least $250,000 — pleaded not guilty Aug. 2 to 11 felony charges, including auto theft, grand theft and owning or operating a chop shop.
George William Moore, 48, and Gabriel Castano, 30, each were held without bail because they were on probation at the time they were charged with the current offenses.
Castano faces nine years and eight months in prison if convicted. Moore — who has a 1984 conviction for burglary — faces 13 years and eight months if convicted, Deputy District Attorney John Philpott said.
The defendants are accused of stealing the 2005 Ford GT from a home in Rancho Santa Fe and two Porsches from other residences in the past six months to a year, the prosecutor said. Police said the Ford GT disappeared over a three-week period in June and July.
Philpott said chopped-up parts of the Ford GT, as well as one of the intact Porsches, were found in the back area of a business in North County.
About two-and-a-half weeks later, almost all of the rest of the Ford GT was found at a storage facility about a block away from the other business, the prosecutor said.
Information was developed that led investigators to a second stolen Porsche, Philpott said.
Philpott said the theft of such a unique and expensive car — only 4,038 were manufactured in 2005 and 2006 — is rare.
There’s not a whole large market out there for vehicles as rare as a Ford GT like this one,’’ the prosecutor said outside court.They’re not that easy to turn around and sell and you can’t really drive around the streets in them so that type of thing is something that we don’t see very often.’’
The defendants are also charged with being in possession of stolen property, other than the vehicles.
A readiness conference was set for Aug. 15 and a preliminary hearing for Aug. 23.