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Public Safety

Hooligan Gangsters Indicted In San Diego For Stealing Jeep Wranglers

Capt. Donald Goodbrand of the California Highway Patrol speaks at a press conference. May 30, 2017
Nicholas McVicker
Capt. Donald Goodbrand of the California Highway Patrol speaks at a press conference. May 30, 2017

The U.S. Attorney's office says nine men have been indicted as part of a car theft ring, which stole 150 Jeep Wranglers in the San Diego region. The suspects are members of a Tijuana-based street gang called The Hooligans. Authorities say the suspects took pictures of the cars' VIN numbers to access data and create duplicate keys.

California Highway Patrol Capt. Donald Goodbrand, who oversees San Diego's Regional Auto Theft Taskforce, known as RAT, said the stolen Jeeps were moved to Mexico.

"Once the vehicles were in Mexico, they were parted out. Their body panels and aftermarket and factory accessories were sold for cash or VIN-switched and sold outright. Through the remarkable diligence and work ethic of RAT detectives," he said, "a powerful case has been brought against the hooligan street gang."

Many of the thefts occurred in the summer of 2014, according to the U.S Attorney's office. Almost all of them occurred in the middle of the night or early morning. Many of the duplicate keys were requested through a dealership in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico.

Members of a Tijuana-based biker gang called "The Hooligans," shown in a photograph on May 30, 2017.
Courtesy: U.S. Attorney's Office
Members of a Tijuana-based biker gang called "The Hooligans," shown in a photograph on May 30, 2017.

The U.S. Attorney's office says three members of the Hooligans, who call themselves a "bikers" club, have been arrested and six are still at large. They say the cars were worth a total of $4.5 million.