Car enthusiasts and car spotters are always keeping an eye out for cool cars, and it’s pretty hard to miss a vibrant orange Lamborghini in a parking lot. Luckily for investigators, YouTuber and VINWiki founder Ed Bolian took a special interest in one Lamborghini with a seemingly fractured VIN and suspicious history. After a bit of digging, Mr. Bolian was able to identify the vehicle as one that had been stolen six years prior, and, with the help of the smartphone app, he was able to assist in the investigation. While the story aired many months ago, it wasn’t until the end of the investigation recently that the channel was able to share all of the exciting details.
How does the VINWiki app work
The VINWiki app works because of its global user platform that allows car spotters to build profiles, create lists, and share information they found about a vehicle based on the most consistent identifier a vehicle has: its Vehicle Identification Number; or VIN. Really, that explains the name of the app. Using the VIN, car spotters are able to take pictures and share information about where a vehicle was spotted, and claim vehicles that they have previously or currently owned.
For me personally, as someone who buys and repairs wrecked and totaled exotic cars and supercars, it’s a fun way to connect with previous owners and learn about a car’s history. It also allows me to keep up with vehicles I’ve sold and stay connected with new owners. But, it’s also a way to track VINs that aren’t verified if enough users have spotted it and input it into the app, and, unluckily for a few thieves, that’s what happened in this story.
The investigation of the Lamborghini stolen 6 years prior
As you can imagine, there was already an active investigation for the stolen supercars, but you may be wondering how a bright orange Lamborghini was managing to just drive around without garnishing attention from the police. When the VINWiki founder saw the vehicle, it was using a dealer tag, which isn’t registered to any specific vehicle but rather allows for dealers to drive their vehicles, such as for transport or test drives. Because of this, a dealer tag wouldn’t pull up anything suspicious in a police computer system as it isn’t assigned to the Lamborghini or any car in particular. Where Ed Bolian was able to succeed was in actually getting close enough to the vehicle, which was parked at the time, to get a look at the VIN and inputting it into the app.
As a former employee at Lamborghini of Atlanta, Ed is very familiar with how a VIN should, and shouldn’t, look. At first glance, he noticed that something wasn’t correct, as the VIN was missing an identifying number, and, upon putting the available information into the app, he decided it was best to reach out to the authorities regarding the situation.
How can an app like VINWiki actually help us?
Besides finding stolen cars, there are a lot of benefits to the VINWiki app — well, besides that, it is something fun to do and lets us keep track of all of the cool cars we’ve seen and owned. As buyers and consumers, the app allows us to see into the history of some vehicles more than a CarFax can — rather than telling you details about its insurance history, the VINWiki app can tell the car’s story and history and even create a network of people who have come in contact with the vehicle or owned it to learn more information. For car enthusiasts, the app lets us explore the story of the car, such as where it’s been and when, and lets us keep track of our own vehicles after they’ve found a new home.