Calif.: 23 held in unusually sophisticated SUV theft ring probe

Ashraf Khalil, Times Staff Writer
Los Angeles Times
Copyright 2006 Los Angeles Times
All Rights Reserved

Investigators have broken up an auto theft ring that allegedly used a mole inside a General Motors dealership and a locksmith to steal more than 200 luxury SUVs worth up to $8 million, authorities said Wednesday.

Detectives said the large and unusually sophisticated ring received information from the dealer on how to get around the vehicles' costly alarm systems. The suspects also took great care to make their stolen vehicles seem legitimate, so they could be resold to unsuspecting buyers in Los Angeles and Orange counties, authorities said.

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