Police in Troy are reporting a big break in a theft ring that’s been targeting vehicle navigation systems.
It all started in early September, when police around Metro Detroit noticed an increase in reports of navigation systems being stolen — especially from specific vehicles, including newer model Cadillac Escalades, Jeep Grand Cherokees and Chrysler 300’s.
In October and into November, police say each in a series of arrests and seisures provided investigators with additional evidence and intelligence in the case.
To date, Troy police have taken nearly 60 reports. So far, four people have been arrested.
Police say the investigation began to piece together a loosely knit, well-organized criminal enterprise. Investigators were able to identify street level suspects and connect them to fences they were selling the stolen merchandise to. The suspects that were allegedly stealing the actual units were being paid $250-$400 per unit from the fences.
“Our fences, that we were dealng with — the people that were having these guys go out and steal them — were selling on Ebay and Craig’s List, and also to auto parts stores. When we came across information from that, we were able to put a lot more together and see how they were being routed all over the country, basically,” said Troy Police Lieutenant Bob Redmond.
The fences would get $600 to $1200 per unit, and Insurance companies are billed $1300 to $2,000 for each unit replaced.
Police say it appears this is part of a much bigger theft ring that’s taken detectives to a business in Seminole County, Florida and more than 500 stolen units. Police say six of those units came from Michigan.
Officials say this may become a federal investigation, because police believe they were being shipped across state lines and out of the country. Additional arrests are expected.
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