LOS ANGELES (CBS) — A shipment of 20 stolen luxury cars, including a $200,000 Ferrari, was seized by Customs and Border Protection officials before they could be shipped off to Hong Kong and Vietnam.
The stolen vehicles, which were stored in pairs in shipping containers, were labeled as used fitness equipment when they were seized at the Los Angeles-Long Beach port complex by CBP’s Outbound Enforcement Team.
The CBP was tipped off by a car dealer who was looking for the Ferrari. The dealer used GPS to track the Italian sports car to the port, where he told California Highway Patrol and CBP officials it sat for two days. The two agencies followed a paper trail to the container holding the Ferrari and other containers.
Rather than an overnight car-stealing spree, like the one portrayed in the film “Gone In 60 Seconds,” investigators say crooks got these cars by using fake names to buy or lease new cars, then ship them overseas.
“Some will just be false social security numbers, some will be fraudulent names, or just a little bit of information, where it’s enough to be fraudulent to obtain the vehicle, and enough to prevent us from trying to find out who the actual person is who walked into the dealership that day,” CHP Sgt. Michael Stefanoff said.
Other cars seized included Mercedes-Benzes, BMWs, Infinitis, Lexuses and Audis.
A few of the shipping containers were already on their way to Hong Kong and Vietnam when they were called back to the port. Officials say these cars can be sold for two or three times their value in Asia.