INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — New numbers from Indiana State Police show an estimated 9,000 vehicles have been reported stolen across the state since January 2016.
State police teamed up with the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department to start an “Auto Theft Task Force” last year to address the growing problem.
“Some cities that are kind of comparable to our numbers, St. Louis, those types, not Chicago or anything bigger,” said Sgt. Rich Myers, Indiana State Police. “In those types of cities, we’re number one in the number of vehicles stolen.”
The auto theft task force has conducted 153 criminal investigations so far this year. The most recent case happened at a “chop shop” on the southeast side of Indianapolis.
“The auto theft is very fluid. They can be very quickly taken to a chop shop and dismantled very quickly and parts removed and sold across the market and social media,” Sgt. Myers said.
Investigators recovered seven stolen trucks from the property after receiving a tip last week. They found the trucks in different conditions with missing parts.
For one family, the outcome is all too familiar in an unrelated case.
“They took parts off of it so he couldn’t drive the El Camino. No one could find parts for his El Camino so they couldn’t get it running,” said the victim’s daughter, who didn’t want to be identified on camera.
She said her dad just replaced the car when he became a target for the second time.
“My dad was out here in the garage and his truck was sitting out here and he walks out and it was gone,” she said.
It happened early Wednesday morning in the family’s driveway near Martha St. and South Lynhurst Dr.
“It’s loud but nobody heard it leave,” she said. “It’s a loud truck. We hear it when he leaves so we don’t know.”
The victim’s daughter said she’s fed up with the thieves.
“They have no life that’s what I think,” she said. “They have no life. They like seeing people suffer.”
The “Auto Theft Task Force” has recovered 296 stolen vehicles so far this year and has arrested 55 people.