(Not) Hot Wheels: Feds say thief left cars, took bins
Detroit — Fiat Chrysler Automobiles has two of the most-stolen cars in the country, but one alleged thief scored a multimillion-dollar payday by bypassing the automaker’s fleet.
Instead, a Farmington Hills truck driver swiped the plastic — more than $2 million worth of plastic crates and bins owned by FCA — and turned the buckets into cash, federal prosecutors said Thursday.
Federal court records chronicle an unusual and lucrative theft from one of Detroit’s Big Three automakers that allegedly netted convicted felon Arshawn Hall $460,000 — enough cash to buy five Dodge Vipers.
Hall blew some of the cash on a house, according to an eight-page indictment unsealed Thursday in federal court.
The 51-year-old Farmington Hills man was arraigned Thursday in federal court on wire fraud and other charges that could send him to prison for up to 20 years. He was released on $10,000 unsecured bond.
"As this is part of an active criminal investigation it would be inappropriate for FCA US to comment or provide details on this matter at this time," company spokesman Michael Palese wrote in an email. “In general, FCA will seek to have any party in wrongful possession of our containers held civilly and criminally responsible.”
Hall’s lawyer declined comment.
The alleged crime dates to May 2012 and lasted 10 months, prosecutors said.
The alleged crime spree involved Hall picking up FCA’s plastic bins used to transport automobile parts at a logistics company on Detroit’s west side, according to court records.
Hall hauled the bins to a recycling company in Wixom and sold them for $460,000, prosecutors said.
Hall, whose criminal record includes a 2014 larceny conviction, allegedly lied to the recycling company, saying he owned the bins and had obtained them legally, according to an indictment.
“As he very well knew, Hall did not own the crates and had not obtained them lawfully from (FCA) and was not entitled to sell them,” the indictment reads.
Prosecutors want Hall to forfeit a $200,000 house on Shadylane Drive that allegedly was bought with money generated from selling the automaker’s bins, according to the indictment.