Michigan police arrest six men for stealing vehicles worth $8 million

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Six men who are part of a criminal organization in Michigan have been arrested in connection with the theft of more than 400 vehicles worth about $8 million, authorities said last week.

The men, ages 18 to 25, were arrested by a police squad last Wednesday and charged with committing a criminal enterprise, using a computer to commit a felony, and receiving and concealing stolen vehicles, the Michigan Attorney General's Office said in a statement Press release. According to the news release, police recovered seven stolen vehicles, hundreds of auto parts, electronic key fobs, burglary tools, thousands of dollars in cash and nine firearms.

Two other suspects were being sought.

According to authorities, the criminal gang operates in more than 40 communities from southeast Michigan to the western part of the state. The vehicles were sold below market value and some were linked to various crimes, including homicides, attempted homicides, armed robberies and carjackings, the attorney general's office said.

The thefts are still being investigated.

“The activities of such criminal organizations go far beyond theft,” said Attorney General Dana Nessel. “They are causing millions of dollars in financial losses to our trading partners, spreading fear and endangering lives.” Vehicles stolen as part of this criminal enterprise later become tools of violence and pose an additional threat to public safety.”

Several men believed to be members of an Ohio car theft ring were arrested in 2022 and linked to thefts in the Detroit area.

Authorities said thieves used cloned key fobs to steal Dodge muscle cars and other high-performance vehicles directly from dealers and even automakers in Michigan, then sell them for tens of thousands of dollars less than their value.

A criminal complaint in the Ohio cases said investigators discovered that new Chargers, Challengers, Durangos and Ram pickups valued at $50,000 to $100,000 were turning up in that state, in Indianapolis and at shipping ports on the East Coast , after selling on the street for between $3,500 and $15,000.

It was not immediately clear that the Michigan arrests were related to the Ohio theft gang.

“This has become an epidemic of organized criminals exploiting businesses in our communities and putting law enforcement and the public at risk, not only during the theft itself, but also on the streets after they steal the vehicles,” says Rod Albert, co-executive director of the Detroit Auto Dealers Association, said Thursday.

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