It’s not uncommon to see headlines about cars being stolen. There are reports of thousands of street-level thefts every year. But on March 24th, 2022, there was a particularly interesting headline from the California Highway Patrol, Southern Division. The team recovered a stash of high-end luxury cars, including Aston-Martin and Bentley models, that had been fraudulently purchased.
This hoard of recently-discovered cars points to a more complex theft strategy than the traditional street theft. In total, investigators recovered roughly 35 models of luxury and upscale brands, like Mercedes-Benz, BMW, and Corvette. And these cars were all equipped impressively, translating to an estimated $2.3 million dollars in one unbelievable stash.
California recovered a huge stash of cars
Imagine walking onto one property and finding $2.3 million worth of upscale, luxury cars. Law enforcement in California did just that when they concluded their two-month investigation and descended on a Van Nuys, wooded and obscure San Fernando property to make arrests. Officials call it “a large volume” of vehicles that had been stolen, but not in the traditional sense you might think.
Autoblog recaps the details and says these cars had been fraudulently purchased from area dealerships. The police also noted that some of these stolen vehicles had also been involved in other area crimes.
The investigation itself is considered to be ongoing at this time, and not much else has been released in the way of details. CarBuzz reports that one arrest has been made of 39-year-old Vage Chavushyan, along with one firearm seized. Officials also found an indoor marijuana farm with more than 400 plants in addition to the 35 or so luxury cars.
Some of the gems California recovered
Among the cars California recovered in this investigation were Jaguars, Porsches, and Corvettes, including coupes and sedans. There were also other models, including BMW, Land Rover, and Lexus cars, as well.
They had all been strategically parked, hidden from view, among the trees across the property. Some, based on the images the California Highway Patrol shared on Facebook, appeared to have body damage. Most of these luxury cars looked as though they hadn’t been moved nor left the property in quite some time, considering the weed growth around them.
The high performance and exotic cars that were targets
Some of the details released about the luxury cars recovered show these thieves were interested in high-profile and uniquely special rides. A full list of vehicles recovered has not yet been shared, but the photos provided by authorities do show a few expensive models.
There was an older model Bentley Continental GT, for example, that is not typically considered to be a general driving vehicle. These cars can cost anywhere between $217,800 and $302,400 to buy new.
There was an Aston-Martin Vantage, worth between $143,900 and $179,800 based on Autoblog details, and a current-gen BMW X6 with a base price of $18,595, demonstrating an interest in expensive and new models. There was an eighth-generation, eye-popping Rapid Blue Chevrolet Corvette, too, with its 6.2-liter V8.
The CHP Southern Division has not mentioned how many dealerships were targeted in the “fraudulent purchase” scam. The one arrest made was for possession of the firearm, which indicates this is just the beginning of this luxury vehicle recovery story.
More news is expected as the investigation continues. And the CHP Southern Division’s Vehicle Theft Unit encourages anyone who may have information related to this case to contact them at 323-644-9550.