Thieves Steal Pre-Production 2021 Dodge Durango SRT Hellcat From FCA Employee’s Detroit Driveway
Hey Siri, find my Hellcat.
With three rows, 710 horsepower, and a supercharged V8 under the hood, it’s easy to see why someone might want a 2021 Dodge Durango Hellcat. When I drove one in North Carolina last week and stopped to take a photo, a guy in a Mustang leaned his head out the window and said, “Hey, nice ride.” It’s a beauty on the outside and cranked up on the inside. Someone with less scruples thought so too, because at some point on Sunday morning an impatient opportunist stole a pre-production Durango Hellcat right out of an FCA employee’s driveway, Mopar Insider reports.
A post in the “Stolen Cars DETROIT, MI” Facebook group claimed it took thieves three minutes to break in, start, and abscond with the vehicle. According to the post, the vehicle was pinged inside the Detroit city limits via FCA's UConnect technology ("Find My Hellcat!") about 10 miles away from the scene of the crime. No update's been provided, though.
The alleged cat burglar—I went there—got away with a sweet ride, and it breaks my heart to think it’s probably getting chopped up as we speak for parts. Pre-production cars are what automakers use to work out the bugs. They have flaws, and they can't be registered by individuals. They usually get crushed anyway, but this one had some time left, damnit. Also, automakers regularly donate these vehicles to automotive-engineering programs at colleges and universities.
That doesn't always keep them safe, though. Back in 2014, Chrysler ordered 93 original Dodge Vipers that had been donated to schools to be destroyed, breaking the hearts of fans everywhere, but especially students at the institutions where they lived. Amid a whole lot of gnashing of teeth, Chrysler reminded everyone in a statement that part of its donation program is the stipulation that whenever donated vehicles are to be destroyed when they are no longer needed for their intended educational purposes. Since Chrysler still technically owned the vehicles, they were on the hook for them, and that's too much liability to carry in general.
At this point in time, I wouldn't bet this pre-production Durango Hellcat will be recovered, at least in one piece. While it pains me to think about any vehicle I like to be smashed beyond recognition, I take comfort in the fact that the majority of its parts can be recycled. Maybe the Hellcat will be reborn as a ghost that will haunt the thief in the style of Ebenezer Scrooge in A Christmas Carol.