Man arrested in fatal stabbing of person allegedly stealing wheels off his parked vehicle on LI

ByEyewitness News WABC logo
Friday, May 26, 2023
LI man arrested in fatal stabbing of man allegedly stealing his wheels
Jacob Alvarenga Mejia saw three men attempting to steal the wheel rims and tires from his Toyota Highlander in front of his Bellrose Village home. Kristin Thorne has the story.

BELLEROSE VILLAGE, Nassau County (WABC) -- A Long Island man was arrested after he allegedly fatally stabbed a man who was apparently stealing the wheels off his car.

According to detectives, 28-year-old Jacob Alvarenga Mejia saw three men attempting to steal the wheel rims and tires from his parked 2023 Toyota Highlander from in front of his home around 1:30 a.m. on May 13.

He is accused of walking outside his Jericho Turnpike home with a large kitchen knife and stabbing one of the men multiple times before all three ran.

The victim, later identified as 22-year-old Luis Pena, of the Bronx, died at the hospital.

Mejia was the victim of a catalytic converter theft two months ago.

"Mr. Mejia was a victim of a catalytic converter theft two months prior that enraged him to the point that when this was happening, he went outside and took matters too far," said Nassau County Police Department Det. Capt. Stephen Fitzpatrick. "He stabbed him multiple times, those stab wounds caused the death of Mr. Pena."

Police say shots were fired by at least one of the suspects as they fled the would-be theft, but no one was struck.

They have been located and interviewed by investigators, and authorities say charges are likely.

Mejia was arraigned Friday on charges of first-degree manslaughter and first-degree assault. He is being held on $1 million bond.

Pena's family was in court for the arraignment but did not want to speak with reporters.

Mejia's attorney said he has no prior criminal history.

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