Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police recover millions of dollars worth of stolen luxury cars
Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police say they’re making progress in breaking up a luxury auto theft ring that spanned several states and resold stolen Cadillacs, Mercedes, BMWs and more.
CMPD has tracked a large increase in auto thefts this year. Investigators have attributed this to the “Kia/Hyundai social media challenge” that has caused problems in Charlotte and nationwide.
But while thefts of everyday cars like Hyundai Elantras have soared, police also noticed a trend of luxury vehicle thefts at car dealerships, apartment complexes and other spots throughout Charlotte.
During a news conference Thursday, CMPD said it formed operation “SCARLET," which stands for Stolen Car And Recovery Law Enforcement Team, in April to investigate a string of high-end vehicle thefts.
“The overwhelming majority of these motor vehicles were Dodge Chargers and Challengers but also included many other luxury models such as Audi, Mercedes-Benz, Range Rover, Cadillac and BMW,” Lt. Warith Muhammad said.
Over four months, CMPD collaborated with 50 local agencies across 11 states, as well as federal law enforcement agencies. Investigators discovered the cars were part of a bigger criminal enterprise.
“These high-end stolen motor vehicles are believed to be connected (to) numerous other crimes throughout Charlotte and surrounding counties, to include alleged homicides, vehicle fatalities, drive-by shootings, armed robberies and other property crimes. Many of which are still under investigation,” Muhammad said.
The stolen vehicles were not only used for violent crimes but were also sold in Charlotte and shipped to other states along the East Coast.
Since forming the operation, CMPD has recovered 132 vehicles valued at nearly $11.5 million, $210,000 in cash and 82 firearms, eight of which were reported stolen, and an undisclosed amount of drugs.
The combined efforts have led to over 500 state felony charges on numerous suspects, more than 70 search warrants seizing approximately $210,000 in cash, 82 firearms (8 stolen), and variety of narcotics including the deadly drug, fentanyl. pic.twitter.com/lxh1qMWQDC— CMPD News (@CMPD) September 7, 2023
Muhammad also said in the last four months there have been over 500 state felony charges on multiple suspects. CMPD did not disclose names but said approximately six people have been arrested so far.
Five people have been charged federally: Reginald Hill, Hosea Hampton, Dewannae White, Ja’Coryen Fields and Garyka Bost.