Digital technology has made automobiles increasingly complex. It has also made automobile theft more complex.
The Tarrant Regional Auto Crimes Task Force recently announced it had cracked down on what it said was a major auto theft operation that used hackers to access the onboard computers in modern cars to steal the cars. According to law enforcement officials, the hackers gained control of the cars at legitimate used car dealerships spread across five cities. Members of the ring allegedly then drove away in the vehicles, took them to a location where they were modified and then sold the altered vehicles at used car dealerships in the Dallas metropolitan area.
According to news reports, only one person had been arrested in the alleged scheme as of early June. Police said they had recovered nine stolen vehicles. The unidentified suspect faces theft, tampering with vehicle identification numbers and other charges.
Automobile dealerships are heavily regulated and the criminal penalties for auto theft and related crimes can be severe under Texas law. Likewise, a used car dealer that fails to follow all required paperwork when accepting a vehicle can be in serious legal trouble. A person accused of hacking into a car computer system in order to aid in a theft can also face a number of charges.
Everyone who is accused of a crime has the right to a defense. In a case alleging a large criminal operation, it is especially important to have help from an experienced defense attorney. These cases can be highly complex, and it is important for the accused to learn about all their legal options for defending their rights and protecting their future.