Million-Dollar Ford F-150 Theft Ring Successfully Sold Stolen Trucks to Dealerships and Customers
In a time when inventory for a new Ford F-150, let alone any new vehicle, is extremely competitive, it is also grounds for criminal activity. According to a report by the Detroit Free Press, many Arizona customers, dealerships, and title companies are feeling the pinch when they discovered that the new Ford-150’s they purchased were actually stolen from a Ford holding lot in Detroit and were sold with fake paperwork.
How Were These Stolen Ford F-150 Trucks Able to be Sold?
It is believed that the 14 2023 Ford F-150 trucks that were swiped from Ford holding lots were not immediately reported stolen. Apparently, the automaker took weeks (or even months) to report the stolen vehicles to authorities. Due to this slow response, the thieves were able to falsely put the trucks into the legal system. To do this, the thieves got their hands on some blank motor vehicle titles that were stolen from Georgia in 2007, and were able to falsify their titles before selling them out to dealerships. That included putting the VINs into the system before they were ever reported stolen in the first place.
But once the VINs were reported stolen and tracked to Arizona, that’s when they began to be a problem for unsuspecting dealers and customers.
How Are Dealerships, Customers, and Titling Companies Affected?
Cascio Motors of Scottsdale, Arizona was one of the dealers that police raided on December 23rd, 2022, searching for the stolen trucks. Addison Brown, co-owner of Cascio motors, says that they paid about $65,000 for each of their Ford F-150’s, which they were unaware was stolen when they purchased them. Since then, the dealership’s four 2023 F-150’s have been seized and impounded, leaving the business $300,000 in the red.
Titling companies are also being affected by these stolen trucks. Prompt Titles & Registrations in Phoenix, Arizona is being sued by a separate dealer because a truck they purchased was sold to them on a false title. But because the truck was not reported stolen by the time the title agency entered its VIN into the system, they were “legally” allowed to sell it. Since the incident, the company will not be giving out any titles for 2022 and 2023 Ford F-150s.
It is unknown how the thieves were able to drive these stolen trucks 2,000, have them titled, and sell them before Ford reported them stolen. However, Ford claims that they did not willingly delay reporting the trucks stolen because they were not aware of the robbery at the time.