Gone In (Less Than) 60 Seconds: Thieves Nab Six Challenger Hellcats from Dealer Lot
Five of the six cars were recovered after the heist, but it’s the latest in a long line of thefts of high-dollar, high-performance rides.
Stop me if you’ve heard this one before: Thieves made off with high-dollar performance cars in a late-night smash-and-grab heist from a dealer or manufacturer lot. Yep, it’s another one, this time in Somerset, Kentucky, which is roughly 90 minutes south of Lexington.
Police there say that thieves made off with six Dodge Challenger Hellcats at about 2 a.m. from Don Franklin Chrysler Dodge Jeep, according to WKYT. The dealership manager estimated the total loss of cars at about $600,000 and said the burglars found their way inside the dealership through the garage. Once inside the showroom, the thieves escaped with four cars, all of which had keys inside. Another two were stolen from the outside lot, with the keys found inside the dealer. The manager told the news station the thieves made off with these Challengers in less than 60 seconds before the alarm could notify authorities.
The dealer said five of the six cars have been recovered, with some found in Tennessee, Alabama, and neighboring cities and counties. One reportedly ran out of gas after the heist. The dealer said one of the stolen cars was a total loss while others were damaged during the burglary, but the extent of their damage wasn't known.
It’s the latest in a long line of thefts of high-dollar, high-performance variants from a domestic automaker—seemingly without end. Although some of those cars have made their way overseas in shipping containers, it’s unclear what’s happening to many of the cars once they’re stolen.
In November, the National Insurance Crime Bureau reported that 745,000 cars were stolen by the end of the third quarter of 2022, which was an increase of nearly 25% over pre-pandemic levels. Motor vehicle thefts in major cities skyrocketed too; the Council of Criminal Justice reported theft went up by 59% in major metro areas. Some of that may be fueled by rampant theft of easy-to-steal Hyundai and Kia models, although thieves targeting high-dollar cars don’t appear to be slowing down any time soon.
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