Beginning in mid-March, dealerships in the Winston-Salem area and Kernersville area of North Carolina began to notice vehicles disappearing from their lots. Unfortunately, they weren’t disappearing because of sales. In all, over forty vehicles were stolen from multiple dealerships. The losses amount to over one million dollars of inventory.
According to Winston-Salem police, children ranging in ages from nine to nineteen years old were the culprits of the disappearances. Some of those children were already known to authorities.
The Department of Public Safety is trying to determine the consequences, which could range from felonies to misdemeanors. Since many of the children are minors, the charges, fines, civil penalties, or jail time could be placed upon the parents. In the meantime, initial custody orders have been denied. There has been no indication if the denial was due to Coronavirus delays in processing or because of the age of the children.
The total amount for the forty-six vehicles stolen is $1,138,718. That’s an average of just under $25,000 per car. No indication is being given if these were new or used vehicles. Six of the missing cars still need to be recovered. According to The Charlotte Observer, Police stated in a press release,
“Detectives are continuing their efforts to investigate these crimes and to prevent future thefts,” the release states. “Authorities are working with local dealerships to better secure their facilities and to initiate steps to prevent thieves from obtaining vehicles keys; if they succeed in gaining entry into the dealership.”
Notified via phone app of it being stolen
A recent video has popped up on Youtube of a vehicle owner that discovered his vehicle was being stolen in real-time via an app on his phone. He and his wife tracked down the vehicle via GPS and notified authorities. Multiple vehicles were recovered along with his at that location.
Reports on the heists have conflicting data on the number of dealers involved. Anywhere from nine to twenty dealerships are involved in the investigations. Most of the dealerships are in the Winston-Salem area, while the remaining dealers are in Kernersville.
Some of the dealers have been identified in a report from WFMY 2 News as,
- Flow Honda located at 2600 Peters Creek Parkway Winston-Salem, NC
- Flow Lexus located at 801 Jonestown Road Winston-Salem, NC
- Enterprise Rentals located at 3080 University Parkway Winston-Salem, NC
- Parkway Ford located at 3150 University Parkway Winston-Salem, NC
- Flow Audi located at 465 Silas Creek Parkway Winston-Salem, NC
- Modern Infinity located at 1500 Peters Creek Parkway Winston-Salem, NC
- Bob King Kia located at 1725 Link Road Winston-Salem, NC
- Modern Toyota located at 3178 Peters Creek Parkway Winston-Salem, NC
- Volvo located at 701 Peters Creek Parkway Winston-Salem, NC
All of these thefts happened during a time when the country was in lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Aside from speeding, crime rates as a whole dropped during the heights of the pandemic. It seems someone forgot to tell the teens that stealing cars is not essential work.