On July 3, luxury and sports cars worth thousands of dollars were stolen from Cloninger Ford of Hickory, NC.
Surveillance video showed two suspects breaking into the dealership using a rock. They then pried open a safe lock box to access a set of keys, according to the Hickory Police Department.
Police said the original two suspects left for more than an hour before returning with several other suspects. They then stole four Dodge Chargers, a Cadillac Escalade and two BMWs.
General Manager Brian Palm showed Channel 9's Dave Faherty where they smashed their way into one of the buildings at the dealership. Police shared photos of two of the men they say stole key fobs. They made sure to cover nearly every part of their bodies right down to their hands.
“It’s definitely frustrating,” Palm said. “Come back to work from being off the weekend and missing some cars.”
The stolen vehicles combined came to a total of around $300,000, according to police.
One of the stolen vehicles was tracked to Interstate 85 near the airport. It was later found near an apartment complex.
Cloninger Ford said it is in the process of increasing security at the dealership, including hiring off-duty officers at night.
If this type of theft sounds familiar, it’s because law enforcement across the Charlotte, NC, area have been investigating cases of luxury and sports cars being stolen from dealerships since last winter. In several of the break-ins, the cars were stolen right off the show room floor.
Police said they believe this case may be linked to vehicle thefts at other dealerships in North Carolina.
Nick Day works next to the dealership and said the cars were stolen at one of the busiest intersections in Hickory. It reminds him of the movies.
“It sounds like a Fast and Furious movie almost, but the thing is, in the movies, normally the hero or villain ends up winning in the end. But I don’t think that’s going to be the case,” he said.
Palm said he hopes the suspects are caught soon.
“I mean, I know it’s a ring based out of Charlotte from what I believe. They got the Mitsubishi store down the road here a little while back. They also got the Ford and Toyota store in Salisbury as well. Yea, it’s definitely frustrating,” Palm said.