Recent Car Dealership Thefts, and How They Could Have Been Avoided.
Recent Car Dealership Thefts, and How They Could Have Been Avoided.

Recent Car Dealership Thefts, and How They Could Have Been Avoided.

Car dealerships aren’t immune from theft, vandalism, or trespass. Some dealership crimes can be so damaging that they make headline news. This blog will go over recent car dealership thefts in the news, and how they could have been avoided.


Cars worth 400K stolen from Audi dealership


12 vehicles worth $400,000 were stolen from the Audi Gwinnett car dealership in Georgia on October 29th, 2017 between 3 and 6 a.m. According to Police, several suspects were able to break into the dealership, and removed keys from a broken lock box. The suspects then drove the cars off the property.


A security guard stationed at the location of the lock box could have stopped the theft. Security guards in a patrol car on late shift duty could have also deterred the thieves from making attempt at theft. None of the 12 stolen vehicles have been recovered as of the time of this writing.


Car theft ring steals $2.3 million in vehicles


An international car theft ring specializing in high-end luxury cars and sport utility vehicles targeted dealerships in Pennsylvania and New Jersey. The thieves visited dealerships while the service department staff was limited and before the sales team arrived. With service staff busy with customers, the thieves sneaked into the sales department, lifted the unsecured car keys and drove cars off the lot.


This heist could have been prevented in various ways. Any closed areas of the building should be securely locked and the integrity of the locking mechanism should be checked periodically. Staff working with high valuable products such as luxury vehicles should be trained to spot and report suspicious activity. Security cameras throughout the dealership should be monitored during off-hours.

Tires and wheels valued at $300,000 stolen in Texas


Thieves that targeted Ancira-Winton Chevrolet in Leon Valley, Texas stole tires and wheels from 45 vehicles. The items taken from the property were valued at $300,000. It’s estimated that it took six thieves less than seven minutes to remove the wheels from each vehicle and to replace each wheel with a block of wood. The lot had surveillance cameras, but the crime was not captured on video. The Ancira-Winton Chevrolet made the mistake of having poor camera placement, so they got very little useful information from the footage captured during the theft.


Security cameras should be visible to the public, as the presence of the device itself becomes a deterrent of crime. However, the footage itself is what helps the authorities identify suspects, which is why the quality of the images captured by security cameras should be reviewed periodically.

Structural renovations such as building a new wall might require the re-positioning of a security camera. In certain locations, the changing of the season may cause changes in the landscape of a property. Branches might sprout on a tree and block a security camera, making the footage useless.


Peltier Chevrolet in Tyler, Texas, experienced a similar loss when $250,000 worth of tires and wheels were stolen from 48 of its vehicles overnight. Outdoor security lighting was destroyed, which made camera footage useless when viewed later.


In both instances, the dealerships relied on unmanned video surveillance systems. With no security personnel, thieves could easily steal the parts. At Peltier, security lights weren’t protected with screens, so they were easy for thieves to destroy. Security guards on patrol outside would have spotted the destruction of the cameras and confronted the thieves. Security guards patrolling the showroom inside would have prevented the theft of the dealerships merchandise.


Used car lots targeted in Ohio


A dozen used car lots in Northeast Ohio were victims of a stolen car ring, with up to 100 vehicles stolen within a two weeks. Thieves broke into the offices, stole easily accessible keys and then drove through fencing that was surrounding the lots.


Thieves also used keys that weren’t safely secured inside the dealership to steal more than $240,000 worth of vehicles at Brascar Auto Sales in Pompano Beach, Fla. Employees arrived in the morning to discover that 13 vehicles were missing.


Storing keys in a safe or a locked, tamper-proof cabinet or drawer can reduce the risk of key theft. Installing bollards––posts that are locked upright during non-business hours––make it impossible for cars to be driven off the lot. Both dealers would have benefited from interactive monitoring, so that immediate action could have been taken when the thieves arrived.


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