5 arrested in suspected theft ring for trying to steal 10 Dodge Rams from Stellantis plant
STERLING HEIGHTS, Mich. (FOX 2) - Five men are facing a litany of felony charges and police are investigating after thieves went car shopping in Dearborn and Sterling Heights.
Police say nine people were arrested after trying unsuccessfully to steal 10 brand-new Dodge Rams from the Stellantis plant Tuesday morning. Investigators suspect they’re part of an auto theft ring.
"They’re well knowledgeable about these different plants and how the security is set up and where they’re vulnerable and they end up making it inside," said Lt. Mario Bastianelli. "They end up getting the vehicles, and they just take them and then they flee."
And not just in Sterling Heights, police say thieves hit a holding lot near Ford and Mercury in Dearborn later that night - stealing 2023 Ford F-150 Raptors.
While police are not saying how many of the trucks were stolen - news site Dearborn TCD is reporting three pickups were taken and officers pursued a suspect to a gas station and then a neighborhood nearby.
The stolen trucks retail anywhere between $80,000 to $110,000.
"In many cases though what they’re doing is breaking these vehicles down for parts which in the long run make them even more valuable," said Paul Eisenstein. "Or they’re shipping them overseas. There’s really a ready market for stolen vehicles from the US. Whether stolen from the factory or stolen from a driveway."
Eisenstein, the publisher of the auto magazine The DetroitBureau.com, says automakers would do well to step up security in their lots.
Police would not say how many suspects were involved in the Dearborn heist, but admitted they have seen an uptick in vehicle thefts in line with national trends - and that they’re investigating the taking of those trucks.
"I think this is going to be a problem for some time," Eisenstein said. "Car theft has increased across the country. It can be difficult to make real money if you’re a thief or if you are a gang, going after one vehicle at a time. If they can get into a factory lot and get five, 10, 20 vehicles out real quickly, the amount of money that they may have just scored is phenomenal. It could reach into the millions of dollars and pick up the right vehicles."
Stellantis released a statement saying:
"Stellantis takes the safety and security of our employees and property very seriously. The Company is continually assessing security measures at all of its locations and implementing any changes necessary to ensure our people, property and assets are protected."
Ford says it’s cooperating with authorities in their investigation.