Multiple agencies work to put brakes on big auto theft ring

By WEEK Producer

Multiple agencies work to put brakes on big auto theft ring

July 30, 2012 Updated Jul 30, 2012 at 10:27 PM CDT

CHICAGO, Ill. -- A joint law enforcement effort leads to an auto theft ring bust and the arrest of 21 people.

Through "Operation Baseball Diamond," authorities uncovered more than 200 stolen vehicles worth $4 million.

Thieves were stealing leased return cars like Cadillacs, Land Rovers and BMW's from dealerships and re-tagging them with a Canadian VIN number.

A fake out-of-state title would then be used to get a valid Illinois title before the vehicle was sold for cash on the street. The operation recovered 120 of the stolen cars.

"These cases although they're property crimes, they have a tremendous impact on the community," said Robert Berlin, DuPage County State's Attorney. "They cost car dealerships and the community hundreds of thousands of dollars every year, and we are committed to staying on top of these cases and going after these sophisticated auto thieves."

Authorities say the major player in the ring, Dominique Henley, pleaded guilty to multiple charges. He was sentenced to eight years in prison in Cook and DuPage Counties.

The joint investigation included the Secretary of State Police, Illinois State Police Auto Theft Units, the Cook County State's Attorney's Office and National Insurance Crime Bureau personnel.

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