Postal worker holdup leads to muscle car theft ring arrests

New vehicles are shown parked in storage lots near the the Stellantis Detroit Assembly Complex in Detroit on Oct. 5. Over the past few years, thieves have driven new vehicles from automaker storage lots and dealerships across the Detroit area.

DETROIT (AP) — Thieves are using cloned key fobs to steal Dodge muscle cars and other high-powered vehicles directly from dealerships and even automakers in Michigan, then selling them for tens of thousands of dollars less than their value, according to authorities and court records.

For one Ohio-based theft ring, it all came crashing down after a January holdup of a U.S. postal worker led authorities to connect several men to brazen car thefts in the Detroit area, long home to the country’s biggest automakers, including Dodge, which is now owned by international conglomerate Stellantis.

Investigators then discovered that new Chargers, Challengers, Durangos and Ram pickups worth $50,000 to $100,000 were turning up in Ohio, Indianapolis and East Cost shipping ports after being sold on the street for $3,500 to $15,000, according to a criminal complaint.