GPS leads Customs to stolen luxury cars

April 4, 2012 at 1:47 AM
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LOS ANGELES, April 4 (UPI) -- Agents who opened a container labeled as "used fitness equipment" in Los Angeles found a $280,000 Ferrari, U.S. Customs and Border Protection said Tuesday.

Fifteen other stolen luxury cars were found in nearby containers, all marked as fitness equipment, the Los Angeles Times reported.

The investigation began when a car rental agency reported strange readings from the Ferrari's Global Positioning System equipment. Investigators said the agency told Customs the vehicle appeared to be on a ship at the Port of Los Angeles.

The cars were being shipped to Hong Kong and Vietnam. The same group of thieves appears to have sent at least four vehicles to Vietnam, and U.S. officials are trying to get the cars returned to California.

The group apparently operated by renting or buying luxury cars under false identities, defrauding rental agencies, banks and insurance companies. Investigators said the recovered cars, worth about $1.5 million in the United States, could be sold for twice that in Asia.

No arrests had been made Tuesday, the newspaper said.

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