Parked cars hit in Queens, but driver leaves big clue for 7 On Your Side

ASTORIA, Queens (WABC) -- It was a mystery for months -- who hit four parked cars at 3 a.m. on November 11, 2018? The driver, moving backwards, managed to wreck the vehicles in one crazy reverse loop, and it was all caught on camera.

"It was total shock that that would happen so violently right in front of our house," said Joe Ceriello, whose Hyundai sustained about $4,000 in damages.

He and his neighbors are looking at more than $20,000 in total damages, and they've had to eat their deductibles because the driver fled the scene.

Three cameras caught almost every angle.

First, the driver parks and backs up shakily. He gets out, walks around the car and gets back in before exiting again. After re-entering the vehicle, he begins his ring of destruction.

All that was left behind was a green side mirror that video shows getting knocked off the suspect's car.

Ceriello's husband Carlos found the mirror next to their car that morning, and that's not all he saw.

He saw the green Toyota, missing the side mirror, scraped up going by on a flatbed being towed right past their damaged parked cars. They called the cops, but the police couldn't do anything without a license plate -- which you can't make out in the video.

So Ceriello called 7 On Your Side to investigate.

The tow company revealed the car was brought to Molla Auto Repair in Long Island City, but no one there would give any answers.

The manager wouldn't tell us anything, but after we tracked down the license plate ourselves, we found out why the employee possibly didn't want to say anything -- The car in the video is owned by his boss, the owner of Molla Auto Repair.

When we brought the side mirror to the address where the car was registered, we got an earful from a woman who said she was the owner's daughter.

"He has some crazy employees, sorry," she said.

She admitted the Camry was owned by one of her father's companies and registered to AZHA Limo at their home address. She directed us back to Molla Auto Repair to speak with her father and get the insurance information.

The owner had ducked out when we returned, but he then called 7 On Your Side and admitted he owned the Camry. But he said one of his drivers was behind the wheel and claimed the car was parked and the victim of a hit and run on the same day.

The driver was instructed to fill out a police report, which he did, and which was obtained by Channel 7.

When we informed Molla's owner of the videotape involving his car smashing into four cars, he provided all of his car insurance information, policy number and broker information. He did not admit his driver was at fault but said, "If my insurance doesn't pay these people's deductibles, I will pay out of pocket."

The victims' insurance companies will subrogate their claims against the owner's car insurance company, meaning their own insurance will ask the other parties insurance to pay their damage and deductibles.

"Thank you, 7 On Your Side, without you we would be nowhere," Joe Ceriello said. "You just kept chipping away, finding out more and more information, after everyone else gave up hope."


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