Thieves generally steal cars for one of four reasons:

1. For sale abroad – Stolen cars are often immediately packed – with their vehicle identification numbers (VINs) still intact – and shipped abroad, where they are sold for many times their original market value.

Where are all the stolen vehicles going?


2. For sale to unsuspecting consumers – Stolen cars may be given a new identity with false VINs, and then sold to unsuspecting consumers. They can also be dismantled and sold for parts.

3. To get somewhere – This is commonly, but inappropriately, referred to as “joyriding.” Auto theft of any kind is still a crime, and innocent people do get hurt or killed as a result.

4. To commit another crime – Stolen cars used to commit other crimes are often recovered – abandoned and badly damaged – within 48 hours of their theft.