Watching the video below will make just about anyone smile especially if you have personally had or known somebody to have had their car stolen. Even if you haven’t, hopefully you can appreciate some instant karma being served to the below idiotic thief who was plotting to steal this man’s ride. The best thing you can do, is to prepare for the worst by understanding these criminals motives, tactics and putting a line of defense in front to deter them away from your property. According to the FBI, over seven hundred thousand automobiles are stolen in the United States each year. Surprisingly enough, this number has been decreasing over the last decade thanks to widespread adoption of security systems and security surveillance systems in general.
When it comes to protecting your ride, it’s actually the mainstream family car like the man’s below that is getting stolen the most. Primarily for the obvious reason that they’re more readily available. That said, luxury heists have been increasing in the states over the last decade and will likely continue to rise as the classics continue to become more and more rare thus increasing in value. These days, it’s not enough just to keep an eye on our shops and/or private garages. And it’s highly doubtful you will get as lucky as the below man by catching your thief in the act and in broad daylight. Nonetheless, below are five of the most expensive auto heists in history, and a few tips so you can avoid falling victim yourself.
$450,000 Worth of Engines Stolen in North Carolina with possible ties to Discovery Channel show “Street Outlaws”
It is suspected that Ronnie Pollard, who has appeared on Discovery Channels hit show “Street Outlaws” is somehow involved in a June Robbery in King, North Carolina. The target was Buck Racing Engines, a local race engine shop. Owner Charlie Buck came to work one day back in June, 2015 to find that an estimated $450,000 worth of engines had been stolen from his shop.
Papa John’s Camaro and 2 Other Classics are Stolen From a Detroit Car Show
In a recent car show in suburban Detroit, the famous gold 1971 Chevrolet Camaro Z28, owned by Papa John’s Pizza and used for promotional purposes, was stolen along with a 1966 Chevrolet Corvette and a 1966 Chevrolet Chevelle.
The Woodward Dream Cruise was held Saturday, Aug 15, 2015, and was apparently a hot target for these thieves. 2 of the cars were recovered within a few days, including Papa John’s Camaro. Officials suspect that the thieves ditched the car in an abandoned driveway due to pressure from the media. It is unclear how the cars were taken at such a public event.
There isn’t much information available as to the value of the Corvette or the Chevelle, but we do know that Mr. Schnatter (Papa John) paid $250,000 back in 2009 to re-acquire the very same Camaro that he sold back in 1983 for $2,800 in order to have enough money to keep his father’s struggling pizza business alive.
Chico, CA Race Team Hit with Quarter-Million-Dollar Burglary in 2009
Rolf Racing, located in Chico, CA was hit in January 2009 in a heist that resulted in enough parts and equipment to build four complete racecars. The estimated take was around $250,000. Owner Tom Rolfe, stated that the operation appears to have been carried out by somebody who knew exactly what he had there. He described it as a “surgical operation”
It is reported that a small hole was cut in the side of the building, out of sight of security cameras, and that a smaller man must have squeezed through the hole and unlocked the doors for associates. No information has been found that reports whether the bad guys were ever found.
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$250,000 Racing Bike Stolen from Brammo Inc’s Headquarters
In July, 2015, Brammo Inc., maker of electric traction motors and lithium ion batteries, reported that an Empulse Brammo RR Race Bike had been stolen from their headquarters overnight. It is believed that force was used to enter the building, and that the bike was the only thing taken. The bike is estimated to be worth $250,000.
3 Cars Stolen Right in the Middle of the 2013 Monterey Classic Car Auction
In spite of the high security, 3 Chevrolets were reportedly stolen from the 2013 Monterey, CA classic car auction event. The thefts were described as very rare, given that there was no prior history of collector cars ever being stolen from this famous yearly auction event.
The cars stolen included a 1961 Chevrolet Impala SS 409, which the owner described as the only “all-correct, matching numbers example known to exist”. The car was valued at around $220,000. The car was stolen from a fenced and secured area at Russo and Steele’s auction in Monterey.
Two other cars were stolen from Mecum’s Monterey auction that same weekend. The first was a 1961 Chevrolet Impala restomod and was reportedly stolen during the night. The cars value was undisclosed, but it had received a high bid of $50,000 at the auction that failed to meet the car’s reserve price
The second car stolen from Mecum’s was a 1957 Chevrolet Bel Air that was unrestored, but had been well preserved in storage for 42 years. The car was reportedly valued at $65,000. No details are available as to how the cars thieves managed to make off unnoticed. It is suspected that the cars were stolen for the value of their parts.
Tips to Avoid getting “Hit” Yourself
While it is impossible to guarantee that nothing like this will ever happen to you, there are certain precautions you can take that your chance of loss.
- Use some sort of security or anti-theft device on your vehicle, such as Lojack, Ravelco, or even the Club. Anything you can do to make a thief think twice, or to make his job harder will work to your advantage
- Be careful who you let into your shop. In the case of the 2 race shops above, it appears that they were both carried out by individuals who had intimate knowledge of what was inside the shops. For security purposes, have a separate lobby area for visitors and only give them the “tour” if you know who they are, or have documented their identities. You have to be suspicious of everybody these days.
- Don’t be afraid of being a “helicopter” owner. Just like an overprotective parent, hovering around and keeping an eye on your investments is generally a good idea, especially when they are in an environment that is particularly amenable to theft.