HIGHLAND TOWNSHIP, Mich. – Thieves smashed their way through a glass wall at a Highland Township car dealership while making off with four high-end vehicles, police said.
Officials said the vehicles were stolen Wednesday (Sept. 29) from Szott Dodge on East Highland Road. These thefts were connected to a series of smash-and-grab break-ins at gas stations in Waterford Township and White Lake Township, according to authorities.
During those gas station break-ins, cash, cigarettes and other items were stolen by thieves who matched the description of those responsible for targeting the dealership, police said.
Cars stolen from dealership
Deputies were called to Szott Dodge on Wednesday when the crime was reported. An employee told officers that the side door of an office was found lying in the parking lot, and several other doors had been damaged, including a glass door wall, which was shattered, according to officials.
The office had been ransacked and a locker containing key fobs was open, authorities said.
Four vehicles had been stolen: 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, officials said.
Oakland County officials said they learned about the gas station break-ins while they were investigating the incident at the car dealership.
In total, the four stolen vehicles are valued at $329,000.
4 arrests made
Police have made four arrests in connection with this case, but the people in custody are not believed to be the ones who committed the break-ins, according to authorities.
Detectives from the Oakland County Sheriff’s Auto Theft Unit were called to Birmingham on reports of a white Dodge Durango that matched the description of the one stolen from the dealership.
Officials said they tried to stop the Durango, but the driver crashed it into a brick wall, rendering it inoperable.
Three Detroit men, ages 32, 20 and 19, were arrested and taken to the Oakland County Jail. A 15-year-old boy -- the younger brother of one of the three men arrested -- was later taken into custody, authorities said. He is being held at the Oakland County Children’s Village.
Deputies found a loaded semi-automatic handgun with an extended magazine holding 30 rounds inside the vehicle, they said. A computer device used to reprogram key fobs was also discovered, officials said.
“This was great cooperative police work that resulted in the apprehension of numerous individuals involved in what was clearly a commercial auto theft ring,” Oakland County 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.”
Police said two of the men inside the Durango were carrying $5,800 in $100 bills and $20 bills. One of them admitted to buying the vehicle from the thieves for $5,000 in cash, according to authorities.
The vehicle was valued at around $100,000, officials said.
The was presented to prosecutors as detectives continue working to identify the thieves.
A reward of up to $1,000 is being offered for information that leads to an arrest. Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-SPEAK-UP. Callers can remain anonymous.
Other vehicles recovered
Police said the other stolen vehicles were recovered in Detroit and Livonia with the assistance of officials from Detroit Commercial Auto Theft, White Lake Township police, Birmingham police and Livonia police.