Residents of the Dallas Metroplex are heavily reliant on motor vehicles to travel in and around the area’s complex network of freeways and other major roads. As such, the abundance of motor vehicles makes the area a fertile area for car thieves.
The Plano police department and other law enforcement agencies in North Texas recently said they cracked an auto theft ring that accounted for the theft of $2.5 million worth of trucks in a single month.
The methods used to steal the vehicles
Several suspects in the auto theft ring were recently indicted, and the probable cause affidavits that accompanied the indictments provided many details about the operation of the car theft gangs.
Police said that they detected a continued series of thefts specifically involving GMC model trucks and SUVs along the Dallas tollway in Plano. In one incident described in the indictments, police described how they received a report of a stolen GMC Sierra and were then able to find a visual record of the suspects in action. Police said that the theft took fewer than three minutes.
A few minutes later, police received a report of the theft of a Chevrolet Silverado on Dallas Parkway while the owner was at work. The vehicle was equipped with a GPS tracking device that allow police to find the vehicle shortly after the theft. Police used a helicopter to find the truck parked in the rear of an apartment complex.
As Plano police followed the vehicle, they noticed a second truck following the first at a high speed. The man driving the first vehicle eventually parked it in a locked parking lot next to six other GMC Sierras and Chevy Silverado trucks.
Investigators suspect that all the vehicles had been stolen. Police later obtained a search warrant that enabled them to learn that an electronic device had been used to reprogram the ignition lock systems on 50 different GM trucks. The suspects allegedly used stolen title information to sell the vehicles to unsuspecting buyers.
Anecdotal evidence suggests a large increase in the number of car thefts involving juvenile offenders in recent years.
Any adult who is accused of auto theft faces the possibility of serious criminal charges that carry a significant term of incarceration plus a potential substantial fine. While the charges may be different for juvenile offenders, the consequences can nonetheless be severe.