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More vehicles stolen from dealership service bays

Thieves strike Illinois service bays when vehicles are left unattended during technicians’ lunches

Highland Park, Ill.—Thieves continue to target dealerships for car thefts after it was reported earlier this year that more than 100 vehicles have been stolen from southeast Wisconsin to northwest Indiana, despite Highland Park, Ill., police having issued an alert to help slow the efforts, according to the Chicago Automobile Association (CATA).

Two more vehicles were stolen this month from Highland Park, Ill., dealerships, police for the city reported Oct. 11. In one incident, Brian Bodden, a detective with the Highland Park Police, said a video camera recorded a white Jeep Grand Cherokee parking next to a service bay door during lunchtime and two subjects creeping next to the open door.

The men proceeded to enter the service area while many technicians were away at lunch and searched for unlocked vehicles with their keys inside. Then the recording showed them leaving with one stolen car.

In the other incident, a technician had just moved a vehicle inside the dealership for service and connected it to a computer before leaving for lunch. When he returned, the vehicle was missing. According to surveillance video, one male subject similarly snuck through the open service bay door and stole the vehicle.

The northern suburbs have experienced an increase in car burglaries and auto theft. By late 2020, Highland Park, Highwood, Lake Forest, and Deerfield officials had logged 94 instances of stolen vehicles for the year, a nearly 130 percent increase over 2019, and 175 instances of theft or burglary to vehicles, an increase of more than 70 percent from 2019.

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