CLVELAND (WJW) – The Ohio State Highway Patrol was able to recover more than a dozen high end vehicles during the recent bust of a vehicle heist ring.
Patrol officials worked with the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles, National Insurance Crime Bureau and the FBI to crack the case.
“In the fall of last year, our vehicle theft unit noticed a trend in high end Dodge vehicles being stolen,” said Sgt. Ray Santiago, of the state patrol.
Just last month, four people were federally indicted on several charges linked to the stolen vehicle as well as to stolen mail.
Officials say the suspects used a device called a “pro pad” to plug into the vehicles and it allowed them to copy information stored on key fobs.
“They were then able to make a copy of the fob and drive away,” Santiago said. “Using this technology, they were able to steal these cars with very little detection. So if you leave your vehicle unlocked, someone can simply plug in a tablet and make a key when otherwise there was none available. This is another important reason why everyone need to lock their vehicles.”
Federal court documents state the four men, Jaylen Harris, Lavelle Jones, Devin Rice and Hakim Benjamin stole about $2.7 million worth of vehicles and stolen mail combined.
“They were very brazen at times,” Santiago said, adding that some of the suspects led police on chases in the stolen vehicles. “They weren’t afraid to show it, to the public, to law enforcement.”
The suspects are due back in court soon.