Arizona Police Bust Car Theft Ring

Image courtesy of the Arizona Department of Public Safety’s Vehicle Theft Task Force.

More than $1 million worth of stolen vehicles were recovered and four suspects were arrested after a months-long investigation.

A lengthy investigation into a criminal group buying and selling stolen vehicles resulted in the arrest of four suspects and the recovery of multiple stolen vehicles in Arizona.

The five-month investigation was led by the Arizona Department of Public Safety’s (AZDPS) Vehicle Theft Task Force (VTTF) and focused on a group of suspects purchasing stolen vehicles with illegitimate VINs from the East Coast and shipping them to Arizona to be sold. 

Rickey Austin, 33, Tyquan Jackson Wilson, 33, and Joshua Carra, 35, all residents of Phoenix, were arrested and charged with theft of means of transportation, trafficking stolen property, conspiracy and fraudulent schemes, among other charges.

Dayanella Galdos Abarca, 24, an employee at a third-party MVD service provider, was also arrested on charges related to conspiracy and fraudulent schemes.

Police recovered and seized of the following 19 stolen vehicles worth about $1.2 million, 13 pounds of cocaine, 4 pounds of Adderall, 20,000 fentanyl pills, 10.5 ounces of MDMA, 18.1 ounces of Xanax, 1.82 pounds of illegal mushrooms, 15.4 ounces of meth, $110,000 cash and several firearms.
During the investigation, VTTF detectives learned the suspects were ordering stolen vehicles from a vehicle theft ring based on the East Coast and working together to coordinate shipment of the vehicles to Arizona. Using fraudulent out-of-state titles, the suspects then sold the vehicles at prices substantially below market value to victims in Arizona.

Some of the stolen vehicles included a Ferrari California, Mercedes-Benz AMG SUV, Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk and numerous Dodge sports cars and pickup trucks.

Several additional investigations were opened as a result of this case, yielding further arrests for possession of stolen vehicles, drug possession and weapons charges.

Due to the rise in this type of criminal activity, the AZDPS VTTF encourages anyone shopping for a vehicle using websites like Facebook Marketplace or OfferUp to first check the vehicle’s history thoroughly by purchasing a full vehicle history report. Detectives also encourage buyers to question any deals that seem too good to be true and do thorough research to verify the vehicle is legitimate.

AZDPS VTTF is continuing this investigation and working with out-of-state partners to crack down on this stolen vehicle ring.

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