Car Theft Ring Found Spinoff Businesses

Operating in an efficient manner where nothing goes to waste is always a good idea whether in legitimate business or in a criminal enterprise.

Sort of like the meat processors who use every part of a pig except the squeal.

A crime organization working in Maryland took this principal to heart while perpetrating its automobile-centered rackets.

The starting point was usually a specific kind of carjacking or car theft called a hop-in. These crimes take place when a driver leaves a running vehicle unattended and a criminal climbs in and drives away.

Contents of the car

That’s just the beginning. After gaining possession of the vehicle, the thief drives to a secluded location, usually a large parking lot, and takes stock of the contents of the car and evaluates the vehicle itself.

Items often found inside cars that can be readily converted into cash include cell phones, laptop computers, tablets and purses.

Also desirable for fraud and identity theft purposes are credit cards, debit cards and checkbooks. These financial instruments and the identity information linked to them can be sold to other criminals or used by the original perps.

Don’t forget guns. A lot of people keep weapons in the car. They should be the last ones to walk away from an unlocked vehicle, especially one with the motor running.

A subsidiary business

This group in the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area had an entire subsidiary business dedicated to running stolen guns.

The vehicle itself may be used as a getaway car or in the commission of crimes such as thefts from autos, citizen robberies and burglaries of ATMs. The stolen car can be painted to change its appearance for further use by the crooks or sold as is.

This sophisticated outfit utilized technology in their illegal activities. They kept in touch and made their plans with the help of cell phones, text messages, iMessages and social media such as Instagram.

Pictures of stolen cars and other property available for sale were also circulated to potential buyers by way of the Internet.

Fortunately, authorities are in the process of dismantling this organization. Dozens of perpetrators are involved and their cases are working their way through the system.

What can you do? Take care of your car. Turn off the engine when leaving the car and lock the doors at all times.

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