No new leads in auto dealership thefts
LAPEER COUNTY — Police in Imlay City and Lapeer don’t have any new leads on a pair of Chrysler dealership vehicle break-ins on opposite sides of the county earlier this month in which thieves made off with tens of thousands of dollars worth of high-end radios.
Employees at Jim Riehl’s Friendly Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram on South Lapeer Road and Milnes Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram on South Van Dyke Road (just north of I-69) in Imlay City came to work the morning of March 4 to find that the windows of numerous pickups and SUVs has been smashed out and thieves had made off with U-Connect 8.4 Access radios.
“These were professional criminals, no doubt,” said Imlay City Police Chief Scott Pike. “Every car was hit the same and they were going for specific items.” Pike suspects the radios are being sold to unscrupulous repair shops out-of-state and perhaps even out of the country.
Pike said he’s seen recent reports of similar thefts in Genesee and Saginaw counties.
Employees at Milnes in Imlay City estimated the dealership’s loss between stolen items and vehicle damage to be about $20,000.
Lapeer Police Dept. Det./ Sgt. Craig Gormley said thieves smashed into 31 trucks at Friendly. He said between damage and stolen radios, the dealership’s estimated loss was $92,000.
That’s $112,000 in damage and stolen radios at the two dealerships.
Gormley said starting last fall police began getting reports of similar incidents in Macomb County, Farmington, Canton and Ann Arbor. However, he said, while police departments have been sharing information about the thefts, there has been no coordinated effort to track down the thieves and no dealership group has offered a reward.
Gormley agrees with Pike that the thefts are the work of professionals.
He noted a silver colored Dodge Ram truck was developed as a suspect vehicle in one of the out-of-county cases. “Unfortunately,” he added, “at the present time, we have no evidence to link our case with the other jurisdictions, other than the similarities of how the vehicles were entered and the type of property stolen. We have no other leads at this time.”