Well how about that?
According to the Louisiana State Police, a joint investigation into the theft of a Ford F-150 Raptor uncovered more stolen vehicles and a hot Corvette engine. This situation just goes to show not all stolen cars are long gone, since sometimes they’re not taken by a huge theft ring and immediately shipped out the country. In other words, if your car has been swiped don’t give up hope.
Learn more about the vehicle cloning phenomena here.
During the police investigation, evidence led to the home of Cyril Curtis in New Orleans. There, the stolen Ford Raptor was found, but the VIN had been altered, what many call “cloning” or “rebirthing” a vehicle. It’s a growing problem in the United States but is hardly a new trick.
While investigating at the home, police found 2 Kawasaki Mules, 2 golf carts, 2 transport trailers, and a Chevy Corvette engine they say are all stolen. The estimated value of all the property is $105,000. Curtis was arrested for charges of Illegal Possession of Stolen Things, Altering or Removal of Vehicle Identification Numbers Prohibited, Forgery of a Certificate of Insurance, and one outstanding warrant. Shocker, the guy isn’t new to the system.
The Louisiana State Police Insurance Fraud/Auto Theft Unit New Orleans Field Office and the New Orleans Police Department’s Auto Theft Unit worked together to bring this alleged car thief to justice. They say vehicle cloning or rebranding has been on the rise in Louisiana, which squares with reports we’ve seen out of other states. Unfortunately, if you’re duped by these cars and buy one, you will lose the vehicle, so you need to be cautious as a buyer.
There are some classic warning signs you might be dealing with a cloned car. Running a vehicle history report might uncover the fraud, as will a vehicle information check through the state motor vehicle department. Pay attention to any damage on or near the VIN tags, including mismatched screws holding the tag in place. You can check those tags against the VIN stamped in the engine, frame, or elsewhere on the car, if you know where those are supposed to be.