DANIA BEACH (CBS4) – The Florida Highway Patrol has recovered four stolen luxury vehicles worth $385,000 in a case that is part of a large stolen vehicle operation that was broken up in New York City and North Jersey in May.
It’s a dramatic demonstration of how the overseas market for stolen and “carjacked” cars is growing.
The suspects arrested in May were accused of stalking drivers and stealing their luxury cars. They were allegedly filling orders from an international broker serving clients in Northwest Africa.
Sgt. Mark Wysocky of the Florida Highway Patrol told CBS4’s Peter D’Oench that all of the cars recovered here in South Florida had their vehicle identification numbers tampered with.
“We were working with the National Crime Insurance Bureau and they provided us tip information that these vehicles might be in South Florida,” said Wysocky.
Wysocky showed D’Oench three of the vehicles now at the FHP lot in Davie.
He said a 2009 Mercedes CL 550 and a 2009 Maserati Quattroport S were recovered from a home in Parkland. FHP is not naming that car buyer and says he may not have known the cars were stolen.
Wysocky said they were purchased from a Dania Beach car dealership that is also not being named. At the dealship investigators found a 2012 Bentley Continental Flying Spur and a 2010 Land Rover Range Rover which had also been stolen.
He said that dealership is under investigation. Among the questions being asked are whether the dealership handled all of the paperwork for the cars properly and whether it suspected or knew the cars were stolen.
“Obviously some of these vehicles from the New York and New Jersey area went to other states where fraudulent paperwork was completed,” Wysocky said. “The fraudulent paperwork was then sent to Florida where the vehicles were getting ready to be sold and were sold again.”
FHP warns that car theft and fraud involving odometers and titles are common. If you’re buying a car, check all documents carefully.
“If the deal seems too good to be true, and it may be, obviously if you’re buying a high-priced Bentley from a very small dealership, you may want to double check everything,” said Wysocky. “Look for car faxes and things like that and also, do your homework on the vehicle. The main thing is doing your homework on the vehicle.”
That advice could steer buyers away from stolen car rings, like the one with connections from all over the east to overseas.