4 arrested in theft of high-end cars from Highland Township dealership

Mark Hicks
The Detroit News

Four suspects have been arrested in connection with the theft of  four high-end vehicles valued at $329,000 from a Highland Township car dealership, the Oakland County Sheriff's Office said Thursday.

The thefts were reported Wednesday at Szott Dodge on Highland Road. Several doors were damaged, the office was ransacked and a locker containing key fobs had been opened, sheriff's officials said in a statement.

An inventory revealed that four vehicles were missing: a white 2021 Dodge Durango Hellcat SRT, a black 2021 Dodge Durango GT, a black 2021 Dodge Ram TRX and a black 2017 Dodge Charger Hellcat SRT.

Two of the vehicles were driven through the showroom floor through a glass doorwall, authorities reported.

One of the Dodge vehicles stolen Wednesday.

While deputies investigated, they learned about several “smash and grab” break-ins at gas stations in Waterford Township and White Lake Township involving males matching the suspects, the Sheriff's Office said.

Within hours, detectives from the Oakland County Sheriff’s Auto Theft Unit tracked the stolen white Durango to Birmingham. 

"The suspects are not believed to have originally stolen the vehicle but paid the thieves $5,000 cash for one of the vehicles, which was valued at about $100,000," sheriff's officials wrote.

Detectives attempted to stop the vehicle and it became inoperable after the driver crashed into a brick wall, investigators said.

Three Detroit men – ages 32, 20, and 19 – were inside. Two wore balaclava-style masks and carried $5,800 in $100 bills and $20 bills. Detectives also recovered a loaded semi-automatic handgun with an extended magazine holding 30 rounds as well as a computer device used to reprogram key fobs.

All three men arrested held in the Oakland County Jail. A fourth suspect, one of the men's 15-year-old brother, was arrested later in Detroit and held in Oakland County Children’s Village, according to the release.

The other stolen vehicles were recovered in Detroit and Livonia with help from city auto theft investigators as well as police.

“This was great cooperative police work that resulted in the apprehension of numerous individuals involved in what was clearly a commercial auto theft ring,” Sheriff Michael Bouchard said. “Additionally, the fact that they carried weapons during the commission of their crime shows their willingness to be violent if cornered. I am very proud of the detective’s work and I’m glad these individuals are off the street."

Anyone with information about the thefts or others involved is asked to call Crime Stoppers of Michigan, which has offered a $1,000 reward for tips leading to an arrest, at 1-800-SPEAK-UP.