Thieves Target Car Dealers

By Brett Edwards |

Published 08/26 2014 08:45PM

Updated 08/27 2014 08:36AM

Given the recent thefts, dealerships are making sure to get the proper information from customers before allowing a test drive.

Local law enforcement also provide some tips on what dealerships should do after-hours.

When a customer is interested in a car, dealerships can easily judge just how serious the customer is.

"We kind of gauge it on the questions we know to ask the customer to see if there is true sincerity there," said Brian Dorsett, Owner of Dorsett Automotive. "Are they really interested in buying this car? The tale tell signs are usually there."

Before allowing a customer to get behind the wheel, local law enforcement recommend that dealerships make sure one very important document not be in the vehicle.

"If a vehicle is stolen and it has the title in it, the person that receives it can make transactions later that can be difficult to track and slow to recover the vehicle," Clark Cottom said, Chief Deputy of the Vigo Co. Sheriff's Department.

Those interested in buying a new car and wanting to test drive it can expect one of two things: their license and information is taken and also an employee of the dealership will tag along with them.

"Make sure that it's a valid local driver's license," Cottom added. "Make sure they make a copy of that."

"We generally will send a salesperson on the first initial test drive," Dorsett said.

Dorsett always makes sure to keep daily tabs on the vehicles on his lot.

"Just making sure that you do know your inventory every day. Walk it. Make sure that if something looks out of place, if someone senses that something has been damaged. We kind of have everybody's eyes looking for problems out there."

Dorsett also mentions how all the dealerships in the valley inform one another when they come across suspicious customers.

"We've got a customer that we want to make you aware of that we've had a run in with. Be careful with this person."

Vehicles have been stolen from Indiana dealerships in Vigo, Clay and Greene counties as well as Clark and Edgar counties in Illinois.

The cases remain under active investigation.

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