• Aug 1st 2012 at 1:00PM
  • 142

Authorities in Illinois busted an auto theft ring, some of which were made up of cousins and siblings, that involved more than 200 vehicles worth more than $4 million, NBC5 Chicago reported.

According to police, luxury vehicles such as Mercedes-Benzes, BMWs and Cadillacs were stolen after they had been returned from a lease. The cars were then re-tagged with Canadian and out-of-state VINs, which were used to apply for new titles in Illinois.

How did they do it? According to cops, they posed as transport workers with car carrier trucks, showing up at car dealerships with what seemed like the right paperwork for dealers. When cars are returned to a dealer from a customer's lease, the car is often picked up and taken to auction, so the procedure all seemed fine to dealership personnel.

But, such a large volume of applications for these cars aroused suspicion and, after a little while, investigators turned up 100 fake titles. The thieves then began stealing Social Security numbers instead of using fake VINs, but authorities were ultimately able to arrest and charge 21 people in connection with the ring.

"While it may not be perceived as the most heinous of crimes, auto theft has increasingly become a more sophisticated and organized crime involving not just the theft of a vehicle, but also other types of fraud such as identity theft, forgery, and loan fraud," said Cook County State's Attorney Anita Alvarez.

Off this massive heist, dealerships will be putting in place some new procedures when the transport trucks show up to prevent being taken for a ride.

But how can individuals best prevent their prized wheels from being stolen? It's tough to foil the really sophisticated thieves. But there are things you can do to dissuade the common knuckle-head car thief, or the thief trying to break into your car to steal your stuff.

1. Always park in a well-lit, populated area, such as a busy parking lot or secure garage. Not only is this safer for your car, but it is also safer for you walking to and from it. Don't assume the leafy suburban street is a safe spot. That's a favorite spot for car thieves.

2. Double check that your doors are locked, windows are rolled up and never leave an extra key in or around your car. If you plan to leave your car all day, consider unhooking the car's battery cables.

3. Do not store anything of value in your car. Not only is it an open invitation for crooks, but car insurance won't cover these items if they're stolen.

4. Think about installing a GPS-enabled device that can instantly track your car, if you're one of the unlucky ones and your car is stolen. Not only can this reduce your insurance premium, but modern devices allow you to find your car in the process of being stolen, rather than after it's been stripped for parts.

5. Don't park at the beach or a park and move valuables from the car to the trunk. Thieves stake out these places, and will see you, making the move an invitation to steal your car and or your stuff.

Want to win a new car or some cool car stuff from AOL Autos? We just gave away our first car, a 2012 MINI Countryman. Check out how you can win a car, new tires or maybe a radar detector in the next few months, and meet the winner of our MINI Countryman, courtesy of AOL Autos. Stay tuned for more giveaways!

I'm reporting this comment as:

Reported comments and users are reviewed by Autoblog staff 24 hours a day, seven days a week to determine whether they violate Community Guideline. Accounts are penalized for Community Guidelines violations and serious or repeated violations can lead to account termination.

    • 1 Second Ago
      • 3 Years Ago
      Keep it simple. All who participated: equally guilty as charged. Sentence: One year for each car stolen. Make them pay for their own lawyer(s) too; no public defender needed.
      • 3 Years Ago
      It never ceases to amaze me that certain people always try to link crimes committed by minorities to President Obama as if he drove the truck, held the gun, or otherwise intimately participated in the crime himself. Those same people were eerily silent when Bush & Cheney were anally violating the country, and like a scene from Animal House, said 'thank you sir may I have another' to every non-lubricated thrust. Also, what happened to the 'If he gets elected, I'm moving to Canada!' contingent? Guess they all lied. He's your President; get over it, or elect him out of office, it's that simple. As for those that clamor for 'Jesse' or 'Al' everytime minority instigated crime makes the news, keep in mind that the only time they come out is when something is done to the minority...most times it's so that they can use it for personal gain, but the act against the minority has to occur first, so at the very least, something did actually happen. If you want cheerleaders for crimes committed against your particular race, don't be upset that others have them in Al and Jesse, become one yourself and ask other like minded individuals to join you...keep it legal and start a movement that involves more than just the motion of your mouth. It's very interesting that people try to make crime committed by certain races so much more heinous than crimes committed by other ones when in the end, it's crime, period. When the Aurora tragedy happened, did race factor into your comments, or did you just acknowledge the tragedy for the horrible event that it was...even though this type of attack is historically (Columbine, WTC in Oklahoma, etc.) attributable to a certain demographic? Also, if you think there weren't people of other races involved with this, you're fooling yourself...the difference is those participants were smart enough to vertically integrate themselves so as 'not to have to touch it', but it doesn't make them any less of a criminal...just a smarter one.
        • 3 Years Ago
        At least Obama's First Lady never killed anyone like George Dubbu Bush's old lady did.
          • 3 Years Ago
          WHy don't you tell the story behind this ordeal. Do you think we don't know what happened? Just like a fool to bring something up out of context or whithout tellng the whole truth. SHE didn't kill him.
          • 3 Years Ago
        • 3 Years Ago
        The move to Canada ordeal was cher and people like her. Do you not remember her saying this? All the libbys started that silly crap. On top of that not a damn one of them did it-BIG FAT LIARS!!
      • 3 Years Ago
      I love how the author fattens up this piece by adding already very well known hints about how individuals can reduce the risk of their car being stolen. It has absolutely nothing to do with the story. It gives the impression s/he got paid by the word, or else had a minimum word count for this.
      • 3 Years Ago
      More of Barry's ancestors?
      • 3 Years Ago
      What a bunch of racist losers.
      • 3 Years Ago
      Just when this group was about to break into the big leagues with the republicans.....they get busted. Personally, I think the republican party got wind of their endeavors and achievements and could not allow street thugs to enter their kingdom, so they ratted them out.
        • 3 Years Ago
        As I've said for a long time, most criminals are democrats, and this group just proves my point. Period.
      • 3 Years Ago
      The family has gots to go to court again!
      • 3 Years Ago
      It is Chicago. What else would you expect from Obama City? Corruption!
      • 3 Years Ago
      So glad Obomb'em signed that bill providing more funding to black schools, to ensure that in the future, poor black people won't be forced to commit robbery to survive. Poor black people, they need all the help they can get....
      • 3 Years Ago
      didnt they have any basketball tournaments to go to?
      • 3 Years Ago
      But wait...they're all black.....Can't we treat them differently?
      • 3 Years Ago
      Newsflash people: No one in the black community cares about Al or Jessie so please stop bringing their names up every time someone black commits a crime. You are the only ones that keep them relevant, for which I'm sure they thank you.
    • Load More Comments
    Share This Photo X