Thursday, January 13, 2011
Top 10 Grand Theft Auto Stories of 2010
Tennessee Titans defensive tackle Jovan Haye knows a thing or two about defense -- but when thieves stole his luxury SUV, he was powerless to intercept them. Fortunately, his car's security tracking device allowed him to recover his vehicle.
Haye told AOL Autos he "felt violated" when he learned that his 2010 Range Rover Sport had been stolen by a professional car theft ring after he'd taken it into his dealership for a routine service. "It belonged to me," he said. "You work hard for things in your life."
Fortunately for Haye, the car was located within two hours of it being reported missing and tracked electronically to Nashville International Airport. The car had sustained only minor damage to its paintwork and, after a quick clean-up, Haye was able to drive it to practice the following week.
"Replacing a new car's a hassle. I'm just glad to get my car back," Haye said.
Haye is not alone in having a stolen car recovered and returned to him. Across the nation, a car is stolen every 27 seconds. The most stolen late-model cars include the Cadillac Escalade, Chevrolet Silverado, Dodge Charger and Infiniti G37, while older vehicles that are often stolen include the Honda Accord, Toyota Camry and Dodge Caravan.
Thieves are also routinely stealing high-value components, and in many cases, they will steal the whole vehicle to get the prize they're after. In one widely reported case -- the theft of civil rights campaigner Jesse Jackson's Escalade last year -- it was the Escalade's leather seat covers the thieves were after.
Patrick Clancy, a representative at LoJack, which manufacturers a range of auto-recovery devices, said car owners can expect a recovery rate of 90 percent or more when using his company's theft recovery devices. "LoJack helps police track down the criminals behind vehicle theft, which is often committed as part of a much bigger crime. So, LoJack actually helps get these bad guys off of the streets."
Typically, once a car owner alerts the theft-recovery system that their car is missing, a car's tracking device will be activated and the local police department notified. Often, sensing the chance to net a wider gang of criminals, police units will be mobilized to search for the vehicle. In some instances, vehicles can be recovered in minutes, and having a theft-recovery device installed on your car can help reduce your auto insurance.
Some auto recovery tales border on the unbelievable. An Escalade owner in Dallas found his car was tracked to a storage unit where 13 other stolen GM vehicles were being parted out for profit. The total recovery value of all the cars was about a quarter of a million dollars. Electronic tracking devices also played a part in locating a 2001 Corvette in Southern California that had been stolen for the unbelievable ninth time. In a sad tale, after a Greensboro, N.C., man was found dead and his car missing, police were able to apprehend a murder suspect.
See Lojack's complete list below:
10. Major Chop Shop Busted – Dallas police tracked a 2003 Cadillac Escalade equipped with LoJack and discovered a total of 13 stolen GM vehicles, valued at $234,500.
9. LoJack Tackles Recovery for NFL Player – A Land Rover owned by Tennessee Titans defensive tackle Jovan Haye was stolen from a dealership's service center and recovered at the Nashville International Airport.
8. LoJack System Foils Lamborghini Thief – Miami-Dade police recovered two Lamborghini Gallardos – worth a combined value of $370,000 – which were rented with fraudulent credit cards from an exotic car rental company. Both vehicles were recovered in a little over an hour.
7. VIN Switching Doesn't Fool LoJack – A stolen Dodge Caravan led Rhode Island police to discover a VIN switching theft ring involving more than 10 stolen vehicles.
6. Thieving Tow Truck Driver –Philadelphia police tracked down a stolen BMW equipped with LoJack, taken at the hands of a tow truck driver who later admitted to towing and stealing a full 27 vehicles – all of which had been taken to a junkyard to be crushed for profit!
5. Saving Police Bait Car – LoJack helped Sacramento police recover its stolen Acura Integra bait car, which is used to catch car thieves in the act.
4. Professional Cadillac Thief Thwarted – A stolen Cadillac equipped with LoJack led detectives to a chop shop. The suspect later admitted to stealing and stripping 400 Cadillacs over a three-year period.
3. LoJack Gives Vehicle Nine Lives – A 2001 Corvette was stolen and recovered for the ninth time. In this instance, the vehicle was tracked down in less than an hour.
2. LoJack Makes a "Key" Recovery – A brazen thief broke into a dealership in Washington and stole a 2003 Hummer along with the keys to 60 other vehicles on the lot. Fortunately, the Hummer was tracked down by police in less than two hours. All the keys were found in the recovered vehicle.
1. LoJack Leads Police to Murder Victim's Killer – A stolen pickup led police to discover the identity and arrest an alleged murderer, who killed the vehicle's owner and drove away with the victim's vehicle. Gaston, NC, police picked up the vehicle's signal only 16 minutes after activation about 100 miles away from the crime scene. They later arrested the suspect for first-degree murder and other crimes.
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