Learn more about this car scam.
A recent string vehicle rebirthing busts in the suburbs of Melbourne, Australia should serve as a warning to car shoppers around the globe. A special Vehicle Crime Squad arrested 18 people who they claim are tied to an organized crime syndicate in the area. Authorities also seized over 70 cars. Dozens of charges have been filed against those arrested, including vehicle theft and handling of stolen goods. And while this all happened on the other side of the world, these kinds of schemes don’t stay in just one location. In fact, there have been incidents of rebirthing in North America and we expect it will become more common.
If you’re like most, the term “vehicle rebirthing” sounds completely foreign and hilarious. You need to know what it is and how it works so you can hopefully not fall victim to it.
When criminals rebirth a vehicle, they take identifying parts from one car and put them on a stolen one which is the same make and model. Usually the donor vehicle has been wrecked so there’s less risk of anyone figuring out what’s been done.
Unfortunately, buying a car that’s been rebirthed could mean you’re suddenly without a vehicle. It’s still stolen property, whether you knew it was or not, and police can legally confiscate your car. Getting a vehicle history report, as well as checking that all the VINs match up is one way to protect against this kind of scam. Obviously, if one of the VIN plates looks like it’s been removed, like the corners of the plate are curled or the bolts holding it in place are marred at all, there’s a high chance the car has been rebirthed.
This operation sounds like it was pretty sophisticated. Police served 32 warrants at private residences and businesses. During those searches, they seized 53 cars from makes like BMW, Porsche, Alfa Romeo, Subaru, Mini, Volkswagen, Ford, Nissan, Holden, and Audi. They also seized 18 motorcycles like Kawasakis and Harley-Davidsons. Vehicle parts, including 19 car engines, were also confiscated during the raids.
While not shocking, authorities say some of the vehicles seized had been used in other crimes.
The investigation of this crime ring had been doing on for 9 months. According to Australian authorities, the group not only is involved in rebirthing cars but also trafficking narcotics. The total value of all the property seized by police reportedly totals over $2.5 million.
Source: The North Central Review