LINKEDINCOMMENTMORE

Federal prosecutors have charged two men with conspiring to steal dozens of automobiles stored at the Pontiac Silverdome parking lot.

Romane Porter, 42, of Farmington Hills and Daniel Onorati, 41, of Eastpointe conspired with others to steal 61 Volkswagen and Audi vehicles in 2017, according to an indictment filed in federal court in Detroit.

The vehicle thefts drew headlines at the time along with reports that Volkswagen was storing thousands of vehicles at the Silverdome parking lot that the automaker was forced to repurchase because the cars utilized a device to cheat U.S. emissions tests

“These individuals were bold in their behavior in stealing such a large volume of vehicles from a well-known location," Oakland County Sheriff Michael Bouchard said in a statement. "These criminals deserve to be punished to the fullest extent of the law.”

Porter is serving a minimum five-year sentence for assault and will be arraigned next month. Onorati was arraigned last week and released on unsecured bond.

They face up to 10 years in prison if convicted of sale or possession of stolen motor vehicles and up to five years in prison if convicted of a conspiracy charge.

The duo recruited others to steal the vehicles from the Silverdome parking lot, according to the indictment. The vehicles, including Volkswagen Touaregs, Audi Q7s and Volkswagen Passats made between 2011 and 2015, were loaded onto transport vehicles and hauled to other states, including Kentucky and Indiana, according to the government.

At least one vehicle was shipped out of the country.

Porter and Onorati recruited others to buy the vehicles, prosecutors said.

Porter does not have a lawyer identified in court records. Onorati's lawyer declined comment Monday.

rsnell@detroitnews.com

LINKEDINCOMMENTMORE
Read or Share this story: https://www.detroitnews.com/story/news/local/oakland-county/2019/03/11/duo-charged-stealing-cars-pontiac-silverdome/3132638002/