It takes seconds for them to steal a vehicle and just two to three minutes for the thieves to remove the wheels in a nearby alley, but Wednesday morning, officers with the Detroit Police Commercial Auto Theft Section (CATS) nabbed the 25-year-old man they say is at the center of the operation believed to be responsible for a large number of thefts in Detroit and neighboring communities.
Police say the man and his accomplices worked by pulling up behind parked vehicles, smashing a window, and once inside the car, they would break the gear shift so they could push that car away using another vehicle.
We're told the stolen car would be pushed to a random locations close to where they were taken and the men would immediately get to work removing the rims and tires.
The thieves would steal anywhere from nine to a dozen vehicles a night and sell the wheels for anything from $250 to $800 a set on the black market.
A better (and legal) way to earn money is to turn these car thieves in by calling 1(800)242-HEAT.
That is the number for H.E.A.T. (Help Eliminate Auto Thefts) - Michigan's statewide auto theft prevention program that pays out rewards of up to $10,000 for information on everything from stolen vehicles to chop shops and carjackings.
Police have one man in custody and have identified others involved. More arrests are expected.