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Dodge Muscle Cars And High-Powered Vehicles Targeted For Theft

Dodge muscle cars and other high-powered vehicles from dealerships and automakers are being stolen by thieves and sold for tens of thousands of dollars less than the original value. For one Ohio-based theft ring, it stopped after a January holdup of a U.S. postal worker helped authorities connect several men to brazen car thefts in the Detroit area, home to the biggest automakers, including Dodge, which is now owned by international conglomerate Stellantis, reports the Associated Press. New Chargers, Challengers, Durangos, and Ram pickups worth $50,000 to $100,000 were being sold on the street for $3,500 to $15,000, a significant decrease from their original price. The stolen cars have made appearances in Ohio, Indianapolis, and East Cost shipping ports. Dodge vehicles with Hellcat engines, including Chargers and Challengers, “the fast ones,” Sgt. Jerry Hanna with the Macomb Auto Theft Squad said, are desired most by thieves. This is because high-horsepower vehicles can outpace and evade police. “If a patrol car gets them, they are not stopping and they’re faster than patrol cars. They’re 150 mph all day,” he said.


Instead of stealing them off the street, thieves are driving them straight off dealership and assembly plant lots. About a half-dozen vehicles — primarily Dodge Ram TRX pickups — were taken from a lot outside an assembly plant in Macomb County this year. Dodges are targeted by thieves who use handheld electronic “pro pads” — a locksmith’s tool that can clone keys by plugging into interior ports in the vehicles. In Shaker Heights, Oh., near Cleveland, authorities weren’t looking for stolen vehicles when they stopped Devin Rice on Jan. 31 after a postal worker was robbed at gunpoint of a mailbox key. A search of his car and home turned up not just stolen mail, bogus checks, and credit and debit cards, but also a Ram pickup, a Range Rover SUV, and a Dodge with a Hellcat engine — all stolen. Rice and others were indicted in federal court in Ohio for conspiracy and interstate transport of stolen vehicles. One indicted person, Jaylen Harris, told the FBI that he and another suspect, Lavelle Jones, had been in contact through Instagram with people in the Detroit area to get stolen vehicles. Harris said thieves “were also selling to buyers in other areas, including Chicago and Indianapolis." Investigators learned that the vehicles were being stolen in the Detroit area and taken to Cleveland and Memphis. The increasing trend in car theft is not easy for dealerships and their insurance companies. The cost is inflated and even recovered vehicles can’t be sold for what they were once worth.

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A daily report co-sponsored by Arizona State University, Criminal Justice Journalists, and the National Criminal Justice Association

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