BALTIMORE, Md. (WDVM) — Baltimore Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers are seeing an increase in the attempted export of stolen vehicles to other countries.
This year, Baltimore CBP ranked #2 nationally for recovering 157 stolen vehicles, following behind the New York Field Office, which has recovered 310 vehicles.
Criminals try to turn a quick profit by fraudulently purchasing vehicles at dealerships. By the time the dealership finds out they’ve been scammed, the car may already be in a container on its way to another country, according to Steve Sapp, CBP Public Affairs Officer for the Mid-Atlantic Region.
“Auto-theft hurts us all…It’s not a victimless crime, somebody’s losing out. It could be someone who’s suffered identity or financial fraud, it could be the insurance rates going up, or even if it’s a vehicle stolen from a person. That person now has to deal with the emotion of losing their car,” said Sapp.
CBP can immediately find out if a vehicle has been stolen by running the VIN number through law enforcement databases to see if there are any existing stolen vehicle reports.
In a release, CBP stated, “Nationally, CBP Office of Field Operations recovered 1,082 stolen vehicles, of which 833 were destined overseas.”
So far this year, the 157 vehicles CBP Baltimore has recovered, is valued at nearly $5 million.