Fraudulent vehicle purchases
and rentals are occurring at an epidemic rate.
In most scenarios, it takes months to sort out and investigate the case
to determine if the transaction is criminal or civil. This type of auto theft can leave many
victims in its wake. The car dealership
or rental car companies are the first to discover the loss. As the investigation develops additional
victims are often discovered. Additional
victims include but are not limited to finance companies, insurance companies,
identity theft victims, and the unsuspecting third party purchaser of the
vehicle. Many times, the factory
installed stolen vehicle recovery systems are disabled and the public vehicle
identification number has been altered. The investigation can span into multiple
states and create jurisdictional issues to arise as the case develops. In the illustrated case, Mastria Volkswagen
of Raynham, MA was the victim of a fraudulent vehicle transaction. After the sale of a 2017 Volkswagen Jetta was
determined to be purchased through Identity Theft, the dealership contacted the
Raynham Police Department, Raynham, Massachusetts. The Raynham Police Department verified the theft and entered the vehicle information into the state and
federal crime computers which automatically activated the LoJack® System concealed in the Volkswagen.
Raynham Police verified the theft and entered the vehicle information into the state and federal crime computers which automatically activated the LoJack system concealed in the Volkswagen. Agents with the North Carolina Division of Motor Vehicles Fayetteville, North Carolina District picked up the silent LoJack signal from the stolen Jetta with the LoJack Police Tracking Computers (PTC) that are installed in patrol vehicles and aircraft. Following the directional and audible cues from the PTC, the Agents tracked the vehicle to a residence. The Agents spoke with the home owner who informed the Agents that he purchased the vehicle from a third party. The individual produced a bill of sale from the dealership that was in the third party’s name. The home owner informed the Agents that he has known the third party that purchased the Volkswagen from the dealership for several years. The Agents contacted Investigators with the Raynham Police Department to learn some of the details of the investigation. On the scene, it could not be determined if the person in possession of the stolen Volkswagen in North Carolina was a party to the fraudulent transaction or an unwitting victim. The decision was made to seize the stolen vehicle and forward the information to the investigating agency in Raynham, MA. The Volkswagen Jetta was towed for further investigation.
LoJack® System was installed in the Volkswagen in March 2019 at Mastria Volkswagen of Raynham, Raynham, MA,