BENSALEM, Pa. (AP) — More than two dozen people have been charged with a $2.3 million luxury-car theft ring that moved stolen vehicles overseas from the Philadelphia area, law enforcement officials said today.
The suspects were responsible for the thefts of at least 57 vehicles in and around Philadelphia, authorities said. Forty-one were recovered just before or after being loaded into shipping containers bound for West Africa.
Pennsylvania Attorney General Linda Kelly said the ring would take high-end luxury cars or sport utility vehicles from dealerships by entering service departments while the staff was distracted and snatching keys.
“In most of these cases, dealers and customers were unaware that their keys had been stolen,” Pennsylvania State Police Commissioner Frank Noonan said.
While the ring stole most of its vehicles from dealerships at least 17 were taken in carjackings or otherwise through violence or the threat of violence, Noonan said.