Sophisticated Tactics of Organized Car Thieves Drive Drop in National Recovery Rate of Stolen Vehicles

Westwood, MA - September 21, 2011 - The FBI’s newly published 2010 Uniform Crime Report demonstrated that the national number of motor vehicle thefts is decreasing. While that’s good news, LoJack Corporation cautions consumers that the percentage of vehicles stolen and not recovered continues to drop and is at its lowest point in more than 25 years. In fact, 43.9 percent of vehicles stolen in 2010 were never recovered, which amounts to 323,605 stolen vehicles that were never returned to their owners. In spite of the national decline in recovery rates, LoJack continues to maintain a better than 90 percent recovery rate for cars, SUVs and light trucks that are equipped with a LoJack System and reported stolen.

The Percentage of Recovered Stolen Motor Vehicles Not Equipped with LoJack is Rapidly Declining:

“As the sophistication of car technology continues to evolve, so do the theft tactics of today’s professional crime rings, which are largely behind most vehicle theft we see today,” said Patrick Clancy, Vice President, Law Enforcement, LoJack Corporation.  “These thieves are finding new ways to get around just about all of the anti-theft devices, including smart keys, electronic immobilizers and factory installed tracking systems, which is precisely why consumers need to protect their vehicles with recovery systems to ensure they’ll get their cars back if they’re ever stolen.”

Below is a compilation of recent LoJack recoveries from September 2011, which demonstrate the effectiveness of the system in defeating thieves’ tactics.  These stories reflect several trends that LoJack is following, including the international exportation of stolen vehicles and the ways in which thieves are attempting to defeat new technology. 

Thieves Steal BMW and Drive Vehicle Across Border; LoJack Brings it Back

On September 14, a 2002 BMW 3251 was stolen in Beaumont, CA and reported to the police.  Within a few hours, the LoJack signal on the BMW was picked up in Mexicali, Mexico and the Baja State Police – working in conjunction with CarMart (LoJack’s Mexico licensee) – found the vehicle, a full 150 miles from where it was stolen. The car was occupied by two suspects, one of whom admitted stealing the car and driving to Mexicali with the intent of selling the car.  Both suspects were residents of the U.S. and were arrested and booked for auto theft.  The vehicle is being returned to its owner in the U.S.

LoJack Helps NYC Auto Theft Task Force Bust Huge Motorcycle Chop Shop

The owner of a 2008 Honda CBR 600 parked and locked his bike on the street where he lives in the Columbia Heights section of Manhattan and later found it missing.  He immediately called the NYPD.  On September 16, the Brooklyn North Auto Larceny Unit picked up the signal and tracked it to a residential area in Brooklyn. There, police not only found the motorcycle, but a large chop shop as well, containing 23 other motorcycles, parts from approximately 25-50 other bikes, as well as a carton loaded with a disassembled motorcycle readied to be exported overseas. The bike equipped with LoJack was recovered with minor damage.

Thieves Swap License Plates to Avoid Plate Readers, but LoJack Foils the Plan 

The owner of a 2008 Honda CR-V parked and locked his vehicle on the street where he lives in Queens, but didn’t realize that his daughter left an extra set of keys in the cup holder. He discovered his vehicle missing the next day (September 18) and realized that someone noticed the keys and drove off with his car. He immediately called the NYPD. Shortly thereafter, police picked up the signal from the vehicle’s LoJack transponder and began tracking it to a residential street in Queens. Inspection of the vehicle revealed that the license plates on the vehicle had been changed to an out of state plate to defeat any law enforcement license plate readers. The vehicle was returned with minimal damage to its owner, who was thrilled to get his vehicle back.  The investigation continues for the suspect. 

LoJack Helps Police Recover 2000 Ford F-550 and Bust Chop Shop

A 2000 Ford F-550 super duty truck loaded with approximately $40,000 worth of tools was stolen just outside of Flint, Michigan in the overnight hours on September 9.  After the owner reported the truck missing, detectives with the Action Auto Theft Task Force and officers with the Dearborn Police Department tracked it to the backyard of a residence in Detroit in less than two hours using the LoJack Stolen Vehicle Recovery System. As a result of this one LoJack recovery, police were able to identify several other stolen tools, parts, equipment and vehicles not equipped with a LoJack system, including a Dodge Ram pickup truck and a Ford Econoline Cargo Van (taken from a local refrigerator company).  An arrest was made and police are continuing their investigation on other suspects involved in the chop shop. 

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