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Undercover Agents Take Down Car Thieves

San Diego authorities are working to nab car thieves in the county through undercover operations.

— San Diego authorities are working to nab car thieves in the county through undercover operations.

The San Diego County District Attorney’s office says the latest operations resulted in the indictments of 31 alleged car thieves.

Deputy District Attorney Matthew Dix says undercover agents worked for four months posing as stolen car buyers to take down auto-theft rings.

“These are not people who are just having a bad day and decide to steal a car,” he said. “These are people that have a sophisticated group. One person is the mechanic. One is the wheeler and dealer with the money.”

Dix said a stolen car is often sold for just a few hundred dollars. Cars like Hondas and Toyotas are often targeted because thieves are familiar with how they work and can get into them easily. The cars are often taken across the border.

Dix said thieves commonly sneak into people’s homes and steal keys hanging near doors then come back later and steal the car. Sometimes it’s not even that complicated.

“You’d be amazed at how many people leave a spare key in the center console of their car,” he said.

San Diego is rated 15th in the nation for auto theft, down from third in 2007.

District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis is currently running for San Diego Mayor.

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