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Navy’s Concern Over Stolen Cars Spurs 51 Indictments

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Aired 3/5/10

A San Diego grand jury has indicted 51 people for allegedly selling cars stolen from around San Diego County. The indictments are the result of a six-month undercover operation.

A San Diego grand jury has indicted 51 people for allegedly selling cars stolen from around San Diego County. The indictments are the result of a six-month undercover operation.

Lisa Wrobel with the California Highway Patrol heads San Diego County's Regional Auto Theft Task Force.

She says the impetus for the undercover operation came from the Navy. Navy investigators said they had a problem with vehicles being stolen on streets near and on military bases.

"One of the issues with our military folks being deployed for significant periods of time, sometimes those vehicles aren't being reported stolen. They're in Iraq or Afghanistan and they don't know that their vehicle is being stolen. So, they came to us to ask if we would help," said Wrobel.

Wrobel says law enforcement set up an undercover operation near military housing in the City of San Diego.

She says the investigation became broader. Authorities snared car thieves from throughout the county.

They seized 46 stolen cars, four of which belonged to military personnel.

Wrobel says car thefts in San Diego County have dropped by 40 percent in the last four years.

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