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‘Hellcat Mike’ Charged With Stealing Dodge V8s for Engine Swaps

A San Antonio-based crime ring cosplayed Dr. Frankenstein, surgically removing and reinstalling Hellcat bits into humdrum Stellantis vehicles.

How about some grand theft auto news with that late-morning coffee? Sorry, we’re not talking about the video game. That MIA GTA is a different story for a different day, folks. I’m talking about real-life GTA because it’s just as wackadoodle, anyway. 

According to Carscoops, authorities in San Antonio have made several arrests in connection with a local chop shop. On the surface, its humdrum headline is uninteresting enough to continue today’s Wordle struggle. However, the devil in the details is a guy named “Hellcat Mike” whose alleged specialty is—you guessed it—Dodge Hellcat-powered vehicles. 

Bexar County Sherriff’s Office

In a yearlong investigation dubbed “Operation Hellcat Mike” by the Bexar County Sheriff’s Office, the department found that Hellcat Mike and several other mechanics would steal high-powered Dodge cars, remove the engines and related tech, and reinstall them into other, more lowkey Stellantis models. The Dr. Frankenstein aficionados would then sell the unassuming vehicles on Facebook Marketplace for half of what their genuine hi-po variants cost. Apparently, the group also had a calling card: a massive Hellcat logo that covered the rear door and C-pillar of the entry-level Chargers they stole-sold. 

Law enforcement was watching the shop, which is located in San Antonio’s northside, when they pulled over a Chrysler 300 exiting the property. A red flag waved frantically when the 300’s VIN sticker didn’t match what the onboard computer showed, which was a $124,000 Charger. Notably, a Charger matching that VIN had been burglarized months before, its ECU and engine stolen. That same day, a Ram 1500 left the shop with a license plate that belonged to another Charger. Very sus and very stolen.

Bexar County Sherriff’s Office

With a search warrant in hand, sheriff’s deputies raided the property. Its initial search turned up seven stolen vehicles and various stolen parts including PCMs taken from local dealerships as well as a Charger in the process of being built. 

“Hellcat” Mike Wilson, 37, and three other men, ages 19 to 33, were arrested. Two more suspects, both 18, remain at large. The Hellcat criminals were booked on various individual charges, including engaging in organized crime, unauthorized use of a vehicle, and theft of a vehicle. The sheriff’s office says Hellcat Mike is facing a $750,000 bond for his role in the chop shop and other incidents.

Bexar County Sherriff’s Office