These incidents were reported across the country from 10.2.17 to 10.9.17
National News – Reported 10.2.17
Vehicle Recovery Service Leaves 500,000+ Records Exposed
Researchers with the Kromtech Security Center recently discovered a “vehicle recovery device and monitoring company” left one of its cloud storage ‘buckets’ misconfigured. An exposed backup folder labeled “Accounts” contained:
- 540,642 account identification numbers, many records including:
- Vehicle plates & VINs
- Hashed Passwords
- A document containing information from 427 dealerships using the service for potential vehicle recovery; and
- Specific tracking device information, as well as individual car logs featuring 120 days’ worth of vehicle tracking.
The company secured the exposed ‘bucket’ of data after Kromtech notified them of the potential breach, but did not respond for comment. (Original article)
Anchorage, AK – Reported 10.2.17
Rip “Truck” Winkle Sleeps in Stolen Truck Containing “Bag Full of Keys”
On 9.29.17, police discovered a young man sleeping inside a stolen 1999 Chevy Silverado truck with a firearm across his lap. Police tried to wake the Alaskan Rip Van Winkle with lights, sirens, and horns—even “rocking the truck with a patrol car,” according to reporters. But he didn’t waken until police broke through the truck windows, whereupon he rammed the truck into several squad cars.
Rip “Truck” Winkle was taken into custody on charges of vehicle theft, reckless endangerment, and a firearm felony. He told police his friend bought the truck for $1,500 at a local auction.
After police returned the truck to its owner, she found a “bag full of keys” in the back of the truck while cleaning. Five of the keys have dealership tags—possibly connected to a string of recent thefts at a large area dealership. One fits in her truck door despite being a key for a different vehicle make and model.
“It looked like he had some skeleton keys that he was able to jiggle the lock to get into the vehicle,” the owner told reporters. “So if your vehicle is locked and secured, they are still getting in.” (Original article)
West Point, MS – 10.2.17
Man Sells Stolen Car to Scrap Yard, Also Steals Shed
Police arrested a man for stealing a shed and two counts of “grand larceny of more than $500” for stealing two cars. Police recovered one vehicle while finding another in a local scrap metal yard in Lowndes County. While the investigation continues, police expect no further arrests in this case. (Original article)
Elizabethtown, KY – Reported 10.3.17
Hoodie Thieves Steal “Unknown Number of Keys,” Two Cars
At 5 AM on 10.1.17, two men broke into a dealership with a crowbar, stealing a key box containing “an unknown number of keys.” They took two dealership cars—2008 red Dodge Challenger SRT and a 2008 blue Dodge Charger SRT Daytona—as their getaway vehicles.
Anyone who recognizes the individuals in the security camera photos should contact the Elizabethtown Police Department at 270-765-4125. (Original article)
Tavares, FL – Reported 10.3.17
One Minor Responsible for 17% of City’s Car Thefts
On 9.26.17, a 13-year-old plead no contest to four cases of grand theft auto levied against him by local authorities. A judge sentenced him to 6-9 months in a “moderate-risk juvenile detention program,” encouraging the boy to “apply the lessons and be a success.”
However, this is far from this child’s first time before the bench. According to the Tavares police department, this single minor is responsible for “17% of the city’s car thefts.”
The juvenile coordinator for the department said in a July 2017 report that, “So far in 2017, [Tavares has] experienced 40 grand theft autos, including six since [the minor’s] release from his program” of 11 months’ detention due to 12 grand theft autos in 2016.
After his release, the minor told his mother and a juvenile detention officer that he intended to return to crime. Days later, police caught him and an accomplice breaking into a residential garage to steal a motorcycle.
Hopefully, this time the program will stick to this chronic car thief. (Original article)
Madison, WI – Reported 10.3.17
Seven Strikes, and This Thief Is Out
Police search for a thief who attempted to hotwire at least seven dealership cars and vans on 10.1.17, causing thousands of dollars’ worth of damages. Apparently, an individual broke into multiple vehicles using a “slim jim type device,” damaging windows on entry. Once inside, they tried to start the cars after “tinkering with steering columns,” which didn’t work.
While the would-be thief left with nothing to show for their efforts, the dealership must now clean up their mess. (Original article)
Salisbury, MD – Reported 10.3.17
Two Men Caught “Walking and Jumping” On Vehicle Inventory
Bystanders called the Wicomico County Sheriff’s Office to an automotive dealership one Saturday evening (9.30.17) to confront some vandals in the car lot. Once they arrived, deputies discovered two men “walking and jumping on top of cars meant for sale,” according to the sheriff’s office report. The men smelled of alcohol, and at least one suspect’s shoe prints matched footprints on the roofs of seven lot cars.
The pair face charges of theft (of tag brackets ripped from vehicles) and malicious destruction of property. They are free on “personal recognizance,” hopefully more sober than when the sheriffs found them dancing on a hot tin roof. (Original article)
Saginaw, MI – Reported 10.4.17
Auto Dealership Sues “Cranking” Fetishist for Joyriding Vehicle Repairs
Back in May 2017, a man plead guilty to seven felonies involving joyriding with “at least six” dealership-owned vehicles. It wasn’t his first time in the courtroom, either—he suffers from a fetish he calls “cranking,” for which he removes the spark plugs from a car to make the ride rougher.
However, police say that the vehicles involved in a more recent lawsuit by the impacted dealership don’t directly involve his fetish. Instead, the fetishist stands accused of taking cars from the dealership’s service shop to jump over hills in the back lot.
The man has not responded to the court summons or the dealership’s request for $38,000 to repair the cars damaged from the joyride. The dealership therefore seeks a default judgement in their favor. (Original article)
Taunton, MA – Reported 10.4.17
Stolen Scrap Metal Is the Least of This Thief’s Problems
A 22-year-old man found himself in hot water when police caught him driving a car loaded with stolen metal roof material and copper wire… and heroin, cocaine, a switch blade, and gold-colored brass knuckles emblazoned with “AK-47.”
Police initially tried to pull his Toyota Camry over when they saw a cracked windshield, broken headlight, and steel-corrugated roofing tiles stacked on the car’s roof.
After locating the vehicle hiding between two cars in a Burger King parking lot, police saw two passengers with dried blood all over their hands and clothing. They quickly found the driver—who had fled after parking—and “dope” on his person during a pat-down. (Original article)
Rexburg, ID – 10.4.17
Vandals Break Office Windows, Steal “All the Keys” and 3 Cars
A local dealership owner came to work Wednesday morning to discover the office windows broken and “all the keys” taken, along with three vehicles worth a combined $30,000. One car on the lot suffered broken windows from a thrown cider block. Security footage caught the suspect’s face on camera, but apparently did nothing to deter the actual crime from occurring.
Police soon found all three stolen vehicles, with the keys “scattered around the area,” but the damage may already be done. The owner estimates that the business will pay $8,000 to $10,000 to repair the damages.
If you recognize this man, please contact the Rexburg Police Department at 208-359-3008. (Original article)
Muscle Shoals, AL – Reported 10.5.17
Fence, CCTV Can’t Stop Two Car Thieves at Auto Auction
In the wee hours of 9.28.17, two men jump the fence of a local auto auction to steal vehicles from the lot. While they manage to start the vehicles, a gate initially stymies them. However—with the CCTV cameras still recording their every move—one rams the gate down in a black Pontiac G-6. He and his compatriot in a Chevrolet Trailblazer then make their escape in their stolen cars.
Anyone who knows anything about this robbery and vandalism should contact the Muscle Shoals police department. (Original article)
Brainerd, MN – Reported 10.5.17
52-Year-Old Scrap Metal Thief Arrested
At 5:30 AM on 9.30.17, police arrested a 52-year-old man on charges of theft. His arrest is the latest in a scrap metal case centered on a local business. No other details are available as of 10.9.17. (Original article)
Milwaukee, WI – 10.5.17
String of Dealership Break-Ins, Fires, and Vandalism in Milwaukee
A series of unfortunate events occurred to Milwaukee-area dealership in the early hours of Wednesday morning, though police are unsure if they’re connected.
- 1:30 AM, Brookfield: Thieves broke into a dealership to take “several vehicles,” one of which was later involved in a Wauwatosa crash.
- 2:30 AM West Allis: Firefighters and police rushed to reports of vehicle fires at another dealership. Three cars burned away, damaging nearby vehicles, as well. The vandals took no cars, nor attempted any break-ins at this location.
- 3:10 AM, West Allis: Officers responding to the fire saw trespassers at a nearby auto lot. Two males fled, while a third escaped in a car. A chase followed, but ended after police lost sight of the trespasser’s vehicle. Later investigation at this third auto lot revealed signs of forced entry, but no stolen vehicles reported at this time.
We will update this story as it develops and more information becomes available. For now, police do not rule out the possibility that thieves coordinated these break-ins and fires, possibly to divert authorities’ attention to one area while stealing from another. (Original article)
Saddle Brook, NJ – 10.6.17
Fingerprints on Dealership Safe Lead Police to Man Already Arrested for Child Sexual Assault
At 4:30 AM on 10.4.17, three men trespass on a local auto lot. After shattering the front glass door with a brick, one entered and emerged with the dealership’s safe. The safe was so heavy, the three damaged a lot vehicle while walking by. They later abandoned the safe, departing in their getaway car.
After reviewing surveillance footage, police investigators fingerprinted the dealership safe. The discovered prints matched those of a man already arrested that Friday (10.6.17) for sexual assault on a child, burglary, and violation probation. Police additionally charged him with burglary, theft, and criminal mischief. (Original article)
Atlanta, GA – Reported 10.6.17
Identity Thief Doesn’t Appear on Background Check to Rent a Car
In June 2017, a former temporary worker at a local allergy clinic used a patient’s information to rent a vehicle. The rental company informed the Atlanta police after finding stolen documents containing patient information inside the returned rental car.
The rental company did perform a background check, but found no red flags on her—or the information presented to the company as “hers”—to refuse a car rental. Employment security expert Jeff Bohling told reporters, “If [a company] does a public records search, it’s not as thorough as law enforcement databases. I would say 60% of people probably use public record searches, and 40% use law enforcement data.”
What type of background check the rental car company used is unknown. The clinic fired the woman in May after she stole 10 medical records, and informed the police and victims of the information theft.
Any victims should contact the Fulton County District Attorney’s Office. The identity thief remains on the run with 10 outstanding warrants. (Original article)
Cherokee County, GA – Reported 10.6.17
Dealership Employee Forced to Give Thieves Keys, Nearly Abducted
Before a Canton dealership even opened for the day, three “armed” men forced a dealership employee to locate and hand over car keys to three black Jeep Grand Cherokees.
The dealership manager says that one of the suspects wanted to kidnap the employee, but the employee refused to cooperate. “They basically made [the employee] walk through the dealership, looking for keys,” he told reporters.
Police found one Jeep crashed on a roadside after a brief pursuit; the other two Jeeps remain missing.
The manager feels less than charitable to the men who held his employee hostage. “I’m pissed, to be honest with you. This is a very safe community. Law enforcement did an excellent job, but I want to protect my employees and my customers.”
If you see a black Jeep Grand Cherokee with either a Georgia tag of RGP4223 or a dealer tag, please contact the Canton police department. (Original article)
Glendale, WI – 10.6.17
Teen Burglars Hit School Bus in Stolen SUV
In the wee hours of Friday morning, police responded to a burglary at a local car dealership and tried to pull over an Acura SUV (stolen from another dealership) driven by six male teenaged suspects. Instead of surrendering to police, the SUV accelerated—straight into a school bus.
No one died, either in the SUV or on the school bus. Police arrested the SUV’s occupants and took them to a local hospital. The bus’s passengers—including three children aged 12, 11, and 2 months—left the scene through transportation “by private citizens.” Authorities say the teens took no vehicles from the original car dealership. (Original article)