Men charged in theft of high-end cars from Highland Township dealership

Mark Hicks
The Detroit News

Two men have been charged in connection with the theft of four high-end vehicles this week from a Highland Township car dealership, the Oakland County Sheriff's Office announced Friday.

Cameron Powell, 22, and Ronnie Smith, 19, were arraigned in 48th District Court on charges of receiving and concealing stolen property.

Cameron Powell

They were arrested Wednesday, soon after four vehicles valued at $329,000 — 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 — vanished from Szott Dodge on Highland Road.

Two of the vehicles were driven off the showroom floor through a glass door wall, authorities reported.

Investigators learned the incident was linked to several “smash and grab” break-ins at gas stations in Waterford and White Lake townships.

Detectives from the Oakland County Sheriff’s Auto Theft Unit tracked the stolen white Durango to Birmingham.

"Powell and Smith are not believed to have originally stolen the vehicle but paid the thieves $5,000 cash for the vehicle, which was valued at about $100,000," the sheriff's officials said.

One of the Dodge vehicles stolen Wednesday.

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

The detectives confiscated $5,800 in cash, a loaded semi-automatic handgun with an extended magazine holding 30 rounds as well as a computer device used to reprogram key fobs.

Powell, Smith and another passenger were all arrested. Prosecutors have declined to charge the third man pending further investigation, the sheriff's office said.

Ronnie Smith

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. Prosecutors filed a petition Friday in Oakland County Probate Court to charge him in the case, officials said.

Powell and Smith, who both are from Detroit and have criminal records, each remain in the Oakland County Jail on a $500,000 bond. Their next hearing is scheduled for Oct. 12.

Meanwhile, the three other vehicles taken from the Highland Township dealership were recovered in Wayne County with help from police and auto theft investigators.

Authorities are working to identify the thieves. Anyone with information 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.