Spike in stolen cars at MIA as thieves target vehicles with powerful and expensive engines – WSVN 7News | Miami News, Weather, Sports
(WSVN) – Cars are fast and their owners are no doubt enraged after a recent spike in stolen vehicles at a South Florida airport, and police say the thieves are targeting a certain type of ride. Nightteam’s Karen Hensel is investigating.
From Mercedes-Benz to Jaguar, Lamborghini to Rolls Royce, even mix in a McLaren.
This is not a showroom floor. Just parking at Miami International Airport.
Dale Swedberg, Stolen SUV: “I think it would be a tough place to steal a vehicle, but obviously it isn’t.”
… At least not recently.
7News has learned of an increase in the number of stolen cars at MIA in recent months.
According to the airport, there have been 19 auto thefts since the start of the year.
Compare that to just two in 2020, zero in 2019, and two in 2018 in the same four-month period.
Dale Swedberg: “I thought it was a safe place to park, you know? I mean you pay $ 18 a day to park there. It should be safe.
Swedberg and his family had just returned from a six-day trip to the Dominican Republic earlier this month when they discovered their SUV had been stolen from the third floor of the Dolphin Garage.
Jake Swedberg, Jr.: “It’s super frustrating, obviously. You come back from a family vacation, you enter a parking lot that you think is secure, and your car is no longer there. “
Their 2020 Jeep Grand Cherokee TrackHawk came with a powerful and expensive engine.
Police say expensive Hellcat engines have fueled the rise in stolen cars at the airport.
Dale Swedberg: “I told them what it was, and that it was a TrackHawk, and that there was a Hellcat engine in it, and they say, ‘Oh, yeah,’ and after that they didn’t didn’t even really flinch, that they were pretty much convinced it had been stolen because there are a lot that are stolen I guess. They just said they were being targeted all over the country, not just in Miami.
A quick Google search reveals that cars with supercharged engines have been a desirable target nationwide, and it may be high-tech heists. Thieves are known to unlock and even start cars by stealing or imitating key fob signals.
Jake Swedberg: “They don’t break glass. They don’t stick a screwdriver in locks or ignitions. You know, they just walk around with an electronic device and set the car on fire. “
Dale Swedberg: “Yeah, I never would have guessed. You lock your vehicle. You’d think, “Yeah, they have to break in, right?” No.”
While the thief (s) who took off in the Swedberg’s SUV managed to get out of that airport parking lot, that doesn’t mean they’re in the clear. Miami-Dade Police told us that cameras captured the departing car and fingerprints were collected from the parking ticket.
Jake Swedberg: “The first thing we thought was, ‘OK, this is an airport. There must be tons of security. There are cameras. I think they would know what’s going on in every square inch of this whole property.
Airport officials say they have increased security patrols and new lighting has been installed in garages.
Nonetheless, they caution: “Owners of vehicles equipped with Hellcat engines are strongly encouraged to take extra precautions,” such as adding other anti-theft devices or even not parking such cars for long periods of time.
Police say the auto theft cases are open and active investigations with “some possible leads.”
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