Investigating Vehicle Theft and Car Jacking

Investigating Vehicle Theft and Car Jacking
Duration: 60 Minutes
Module 1Module 1
Recorded on: 2023-01-31
Unit 1Presentation Materials: Investigating Vehicle Theft and Car Jacking
Unit 2Transcript: Investigating Vehicle Theft and Car Jacking
Unit 3Workbook: Investigating Vehicle Theft and Car Jacking
Unit 4Recording: Investigating Vehicle Theft and Car Jacking

Crimes against people tend to be the priority for law enforcement, especially given the limited manpower available these days. However, it is critical for law enforcement agencies to recognize the importance of allocating resources to crimes against property, particularly vehicular theft, which can consequently lead to crimes against people. This webinar explores the nitty-gritty of vehicle theft, from the criminals’ motivations and methods to indicators and resources that can help with investigations.

Leading the discussion is Steve Beltz from the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB). He is NICB’s Director of Learning and Development where he leads and develops field trainers and ensures the quality of training programs for internal staff, member organizations, and partner agencies.

Specifics of his discussion include:

  • NICB collated and analyzed statistics providing insights on the prevalence of vehicle thefts across the US, hotspots, and critical trends and patterns.
  • An overview of NICB’s work in its 110-year history.
  • Different motivations for criminals to steal cars such as to sell car parts, export whole cars, or simply carjack as means to another crime.
  • How criminals are able to tamper with vehicle-identifying features.
  • The extent of stolen cars being exported from the US to different parts of the world.
  • The conventional vehicle theft methods utilized by criminals on individual owners as well as dealerships.
  • Features built into newer car models that help prevent vehicle theft.
  • The different vehicle theft fraud schemes executed by individual owners and organized crime groups.
    • Owner give-ups where the owner reports the car stolen due to various issues in hopes of getting an insurance payout.
    • Scapegoat fraud where the owner gets in some type of trouble and reports the car being stolen to be able to get a policy payout.
    • Different scenarios employed with the goal of exporting the car and then reporting it stolen to be able to file an insurance claim.
    • Salvage fraud and mechanics lien that capitalize on the loopholes of insurance providers and states’ registration processes.
  • The different information that can be gleaned from vehicle data collection points and can be utilized during investigation.
  • Things to look at that may indicate potential theft fraud.
  • Different resources to help with vehicle theft investigation and training.
  • Examples and videos were provided to demonstrate:
    • How quickly a car can be stripped.
    • NICB’s assist to the FBI to reconstruct a vehicle from a partial VIN found in an explosion site.
    • How car thieves take specific car parts because of their prices.
    • How NICB worked with Russian law enforcement to identify stolen vehicles that ended up in their country.
    • Car-owner’s attempt to cover up an accident by reporting his car stolen.
    • Attempts to move stolen vehicles and car parts averted in traffic.
    • How salvage fraud gangs can make easy money through small accident claims.
    • Theft schemes where the thieves use high-tech software and equipment to steal cars almost effortlessly.

Questions raised by the webinar participants are on…

  • Catching the vehicle theft organized groups and law enforcement’s priority for these crimes.
  • Applying the concepts discussed to RVs, campers, and boats.
  • What law enforcement must focus on to prevent and address vehicle theft incidents and cases.
  • Where the chopped-up car parts end up being sold to.


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Resources and Handouts


Audience Comments

  • “Each segment had helpful information.” — Billy
  • “Definitely need more training and information on this based on all the auto thefts happening right now!!” — Carrie
  • “The instructor was very good in explaining the many ways vehicles are stolen.” — chris
  • “This is definitely a subject area that is of major concern in this day and time. With the theft of Catalytic Converter and other parts, it is good to get a better understanding of the real reasons some of these crimes occur and who are the perpetrators.” — Nathaniel
  • “Wish we had more time! The visual of stripping a car was very interesting. Thank you!” — Omar
  • “It was valuable to learn about the different techniques criminals use to steal vehicles, esp. the immobilizers.” — Alexa
  • “Different types of schemes/crimes happening in different parts of the country.” — Arturo



Nlets is a self-funded nonprofit, established in 1967 with the objective of connecting law enforcement, justice, and public safety agencies for the purpose of exchanging critical criminal justice information. They strive to ensure that the right information gets to the right person as quickly as possible. Nlets connects more than 1,000,000 users, 45,000 agencies, and 800,000 devices, with more than three billion transactions traversing their secure network last year.



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