- here’s the plan. first, sneak into the lot where the automaker keeps the expensive vehicles that it just built but hasn’t shipped out to customers yet. in this case, stellantis.
- second, find the keys stored in the vehicles, and, even though these are secured lots, smash your way through a gate or a fence and drive away.
- third, do it again a few nights later. just watch out, as police are investigating.
brand-new trucks are disappearing out of the parking lot outside detroit-area assembly plants in a new twist on car theft—so brand-new, they are still in the custody of the manufacturer. truck thieves have targeted at least three locations full of new vehicles in the metro detroit area recently. the details of these thefts are under investigation, but the general plan seems to be that the thieves break into the lot somehow and then drive the new trucks away, maybe by smashing a gate or fence on the way out.
a stellantis spokesperson responded to car and driver's inquiry about these news reports with a short statement on the situation. the statement said stellantis is working with the sterling heights police department on the theft of several vehicles from a shipping yard that services the sterling heights assembly plant managed by a third party.
"as this is an open investigation, the company is not commenting any further on what vehicles were stolen or how they were stolen," the spokesperson said.
according to an instagram post by metro detroit news, however, at least 15 vehicles have been stolen in the past month, including new ram trucks, a jeep wagoneer, charger hellcats, and a jeep trackhawk. stellantis locations that have been claimed to have vehicles stolen recently include a lot in shelby township, the chrysler plant in auburn hills, and the jefferson assembly plant in detroit. at least four trucks were stolen from one location in a single night, including a ram trx worth more than $100,000. the thief driving one of the trucks quickly crashed the new car into a nearby semi truck before being picked up by a thief in a different stolen truck.
metro detroit news said it can’t confirm if all of these thefts are connected, but there are definite connections between some of them. they claim that two high-end vehicles, including a $90,000 jeep grand cherokee trackhawk, were stolen from the stellantis jefferson north assembly plant a few weeks ago and then, in an unusual twist, the thieves used the trackhawk to go back to the lot and steal a dodge challenger hellcat a few days later.
it might be easier to steal these new vehicles than outsiders assume, according to a report by detroit's wdiv news channel that notes that stellantis and its partners do use prominent security guards at these locations. but the automaker could possibly change a policy to make these new vehicles more difficult to steal.
"insiders tell us it's really no secret that keys are put in these brand-new, high-dollar trucks and thieves sneak onto the property, somehow undetected, get into the trucks, and wait for the key moment to drive off," click on detroit reporter shawn ley said in a video report.
thieves have targeted detroit-area car factories as easy targets in the past. in 2018, for example, as the detroit bureau reported at the time, a group of thieves first stole a 2003 ram truck, then used that truck to approach the fiat chrysler plant in warren, michigan, in the middle of the night. from there, they cut a hole through the fence and then drove away with eight new trucks that had recently come off the production line. at the time, there were questions about why the thieves could so easily steal those trucks and it was assumed that the keys were kept in the vehicles. fiat chrysler declined to comment on that policy at the time and declined again for this article, but this new wave of thefts will certainly raise that question again.