Thieves took at least seven Chevrolet Camaros directly from GM’s Lansing Grand River Assembly Plant in Michigan on Monday morning, prompting an unrestrained police chase, an accident, nine arrests and the recovery of at least part of the stolen vehicles.
Details are still hazy after the robbery and multiple car chase. that spanned nearly half the state and involved state and county police. From the Detroit Free Press:
The car thieves, police said, separated into at least two groups, breaking into groups of two to four cars. Soldiers in Lansing began the pursuit, which led along Interstate 96 near Brighton.
More police and local agencies got involved as the stolen Camaros sped down the interstate from Kensington Road to M-5, through Lyon, Wixom, Novi and Farmington Hills.
Troopers from Lansing, Brighton, Taylor and the canine unit, as well as the Livingston County Sheriff’s Office, a helicopter and drones, chased the drivers.
There were no injuries to the public, police officers or suspects, state police said in a cheep.
One of the groups of stolen cars, police said, crashed on I-96 near Kensington Road and the suspects fled. The other group split up, some leaving on Grand River Avenue and others on M-5 heading north.
Lansing to Farmington Hills! Those two places are more than an hour apart in normal traffic, which means they basically went through a quarter of the state. Police ended up arresting nine people on charges ranging from running away, calling the police and concealing a stolen vehicle. Police recovered five of the Camaros, one with punctured tires. One of the stolen Camaros crashed on I-96 and the suspects fled the scene.
Thieves stealing cars directly from auto plants is not a new phenomenon, and it is It is certainly not limited to General Motors. In March, Stellantis lost vehicles from both an assembly plant and a storage lot, according to W X Y Z. Last December, Ford lost four new mustang gt500s of the Flat Rock Assembly Plant in Flat Rock, Michigan. Assembly plants are sprawling complexes covering acres of land, so it’s not so easy to keep them secure 24 hours a day. The same goes for storage lots where automakers store unfinished vehicles or vehicles awaiting shipment. Such lots only expanded during the pandemic, as chip shortages made it difficult to finish and ship new vehicles.
How do thieves deal with those vehicles? According to WXYZ:
This is an epidemic that we have been showing you for over a year. It started with an internal Michigan State Police Bulletin sent to all local police departments. The bulletin says that in most cases, thieves use computer tablets to duplicate key fobs and drive away cars in seconds.
The police working on these cases are dealing with layers of people involved.
Stellantis also provided WXYZ with a statement in March regarding security updates to try to combat the issue:
The Key Programming Lockdown software update is on the market for Dodge Challenger/Charger Scat Pack and Hellcat models, and extends through the 2019 model year. Software for 2018 through 2015 model year vehicles will be rolled out in the coming months. The intrusion module feature is standard on Dodge Challenger/Charger Scat Pack and Hellcat models, and is optional on all other models, including the Chrysler 300, regardless of powertrain.
While network security in cars has improved in recent years, the technology is advancing much faster than cars, which take years to develop. Network security is still pretty terrible. Some cars can be stolen in seconds using easy access technology.