Recent data released by the National Insurance Crime Bureau found that more than 10 percent of the Corvettes produced since 1981 have been stolen. The first C4 generation, released in 1984, is the model most often targeted, with thieves pinching 8,554 of the 51,547 units manufactured. California leads the pack with more than 27 percent of Corvette thefts. Florida comes in a distant second but is closely followed by Texas and New York.
“Classic vehicles are being targeted for scrap metal. They are being shredded and destroyed. We are trying to tackle that problem,” Marietta Police Sergeant Rick Redd told a group of 100 officers and insurance investigators at a Georgia conference on June 14.
During the three days of meetings, the participants learned about the newest technological advancement that enable the tracking of missing vehicles. The Fayette County Sheriff’s Office flew in a Lo/Jack-equipped helicopter that can track cars from the air. The security company boasts a 92 percent recovery rate, including a $116,825 2010 Mercedes-Benz S63 AMG that was swiped last year.
According to recent FBI data, only 56 percent of vehicle owners recover their property without an in-car security system like Lo/Jack or OnStar. In 2010, American consumers lost $4.5 billion due to 737,142 vehicle thefts. One of the biggest issues in cracking down on auto theft is the wide range of penalties dispensed. Hot-wiring a car earns more jail time than stealing an unlocked car with the keys in the ignition, for example.
Last month, NYPD detectives exposed a sophisticated car theft ring that aggressively targeted mint-condition luxury vehicles, including Lexus and Toyota SUVs. The stolen automobiles were allegedly forwarded to an international broker whose northwest Africa clients were requesting specific makes, models, and colors.
A 14-man team identified specific cars to steal and then passed on the information to a dealership employee and locksmith, who in turn provided entry codes and keys. Forgers then supplied phony titles and sales transfers, which enabled the broker to ship the vehicles out of the country. If found guilty of enterprise corruption, the defendants will serve up to 25 years in prison.
Auto Theft Rates Rise in the West
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