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Over the past several years, Palm Beach County has ranked highly for thefts of all sorts. So, it comes as little surprise that many pricey vehicles are liberated from their Florida owners every year. In weird car news, what you might not know is that almost 50 ultra-expensive cars were stolen by a group of Palm Beach teenagers in 2018.

Most victims made their expensive vehicles easy to steal

A car theft suspect arrested by police in Denver, Colorado
A car theft suspect arrested | Joe Amon/The Denver Post via Getty Images

It’s hard to believe that anyone would leave their key fob in the ignition these days, but that’s precisely how the ring of underage car thieves was able to steal millions of dollars worth of cars in Palm Beach, Florida. According to WPTV News, most of the vehicles stolen by 17-year-old Gregory Yearty Jr, 17-year-old Arthur Morgan, and 16-year-old Daron Thurston required no “hot wiring” because the owners left their keys in the ignition.

Upscale neighborhoods and pricey purloined car theft targets

Occurring primarily in affluent neighborhoods, the car thefts in the spring of 2018 affected dozens of central and south Palm Beach vehicle owners. In Wellington, the teenage thieves made off with a Porsche and a Mercedes 550S from the same driveway, while in the Polo Club neighborhood, the ripoff artists absconded with an Audi A8, a Porsche Macan, a Mercedes C300, and another Mercedes 550S.

One of the first cars stolen by the treacherous teens was a Chrysler 300 valued at around $35,000. The car was seen several times during the car theft spree, often with four or five people inside. One such instance occurred when a near-victim in the Broken Sound area of Boca Raton spied a young male exit the Chrysler and attempt to take his neighbor’s Jaguar. Once he noticed that he was being watched, the young man hopped back into the Chrysler and sped away. That was not the end of the car capers, however.

Hours after an observant neighbor thwarted the Jaguar theft in Boca Raton, the Chrysler and its passengers were seen on surveillance video at the Royal Palm Yacht and Country Club right around the time that two cars were stolen. On March 4th, two suspects crashed another Mercedes they were trying to steal in Boca Raton. That still didn’t stop the spree.

Three days later, a Cadillac Escalade was stolen from a private garage in the Boca burbs. This time, the car was tracked to Miami-Dade County with the Chrysler 300 in proximity. Ultimately, the stolen Caddie was found in the driveway of 17-year-old Gregory Yearty.

The car thieves tried to escape into a gator-infested swamp

On March 10th, police were notified that the Chrysler 300 had been spotted on the road between Broward County and Palm Beach. This time, a police helicopter got involved and watched from above as the teens drove into the Saturnia subdivision, where the teens tried to steal a BMW, a Jaguar, and Porsche Cayenne. Locked doors and empty ignitions thwarted their efforts.

The teens attempted to leave the subdivision, but the police had other ideas. As agents moved in, the teen thieves drove through a yard, at which time the cops were advised to let the helicopter handle the pursuit. The errant teenagers ditched the Chrysler and fled into an alligator-infested canal. Within minutes, cops on the ground caught up with the teens and arrested them on the spot. According to detectives, the car thieves showed “a level of organization and planning” that indicated the thefts were more than crimes of opportunity. In fact, each teen had an extensive criminal record, and all were tried as adults.

Sometimes, stolen cars come home

We’re not sure what became of all the teenage-stolen cars in Palm Beach, but ripped-off vehicles do come home once in a while.

HotCars explains that in 1969, a one-year-old Corvette C3 was stolen from Alan Poster’s parking garage. Over 37 years later, customs agents intercepted the stolen ‘Vette as it was on the verge of being shipped to Sweden. In 1970, Robert Russel’s 1967 Austin-Healey 3000 Mk III was stolen in Philadelphia. Then, 42 years later, he found the car for sale on eBay. In 1981, a 1968 Camaro 327 V8 was stolen from Ron Reolfi in Jackson Township, New Jersey, and returned by the police 24 years later.

These happy endings are far from the norm. For this reason, it’s wise to follow the common-sense recommendation of the National Insurance Crime Bureau and never, ever leave your keys in the ignition.


There’s a 1 in 5 Chance You’ll Get Your Car Back if it’s Stolen