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Tip Center - Different Types Of Auto Theft

According to the National Insurance Crime Bureau, auto theft is a very profitable business, generating nearly $8 billion a year. Despite declining auto theft rates, business continues to grow in the United States due to the ever increasing value of cars.

It's an awful feeling to be a victim of auto theft. According to the FBI, auto theft occurs about every 30 seconds in the United States, so if you are a victim, don't feel alone. is here to help. is the largest international auto theft database, it's both free and easy to search and report auto theft.

Types Of Auto Theft


Auto theft may occur for a number of reasons. Here are some different examples of auto theft.

Sell the stolen car

The main reason most cars are stolen is to re-sell them. The stolen car is typically brought across state lines or even across international borders. Then the vehicle identification numbers or VIN may be altered or removed, the title and registration forged and the stolen car repainted to avoid detection.

Sell the stolen car's parts

One of the most common reasons auto theft occurs is to sell the parts. Parting out a stolen car can bring a thief up to four times what would be gained by selling the whole car. Auto theft rings will set up shops called "chop shops" where the stolen car will get stipped down for the parts in a matter of minutes. Many times the thieves will partner with dishonest auto repair shops, mechanics and auto body shops to buy the parts at a major discount, only to turn around and charge the customer full price.

To use the stolen car

Sometimes an auto theft is merely to provide transportion. Many times the stolen car is used in other crimes which is why it is imperative to report a car stolen immediately upon discovery. After the stolen car is no longer needed, it is abandoned ir sold before it can be traced to the thief.

Trade the stolen car for drugs

This type of auto theft is often referred to as "cars for crack" because crack is typically the desired drug. The drug addict will leave the car with the dealer for collateral. The dealer will then use the car to run drugs and even commit more crimes. If the car is not returned or it is seized by law enforcement, the drug addict will then report it as a stolen car. If there is an insurance settlement, the drug addict will use the money to purchase more drugs. If the car is returned, the drug addict will then repeat the process for more drugs.

Auto theft for joyriding

Juvniles will commit auto theft for status with friends or simply for the thrill. Mostly the stolen car is abandoned after use, but alamingly more ofter these juvinile thieves are getting invovled with auto theft rings.

Auto theft to commit more crimes

Sometimes auto theft occurs to commit other crimes using the stolen car, for example, drive-by shootings, burglaries or a get away car for armed robberies. The criminals intention is to reduce the chance the crimes commited will be traced back to them by using a stolen car.

Auto theft for insurance fraud

This type of auto theft, referred to as "owner give-up," genearally happens with either leased cars or cars with high mileage with high-mlieage penalty costs. The vehicle owner typically arranges to have the car stolen or simple leaves the car in an area known for a high rate of auto theft. Other times, the vehicle owner will hide the car, sink it in a lake, or torch the it to insure it is a total loos if found. Initially it may be investigated as an auto theft, but if caught, the offender will be charged with felony insurance fraud.

Auto theft for vehicle cloning

This type of auto theft can, at times, be virtually untracable. An auto thief will remove the stolen cars VIN and replace it with a VIN from a car that has been wrecked and purchased from a wrecking yard. A false title, registration and vehicle history are then created for the DMV and the stolen car is sold at full market price, only to be stolen again months later and the whole process repeated. Another type of vehicle cloning is when a thief removes the owner's registration and insurance card, the documents are then used to obtain license plates registered to the victim. If the car is then used in a crime or involved in an accident, the police will come to you thinking the car belongs to you. Iliminating yourself from any inolvement can be a very long and tedious process. The best way to avoid being a victim of this type of cloning is to not keep registration, insurance cards and any other important documents in the car.