Car Cloning Ring Busted

Cloned vehicles on display at FBI headquarters in Tampa
Cloned vehicles on display at FBI headquarters in Tampa
TAMPA (2009-03-31) -

The FBI and local law enforcement agencies, last week, busted up a vehicle theft ring that specialized in cloning, a process that makes cars appeared to be legal.

Federal prosecutors charged a total of 17 people last Tuesday with stealing more than 1,000 vehicles in Florida. Officials say the criminals then copied the vehicle identification number of a similar car and created new registration forms for the stolen cars.

The cloned cars were then sold to buyers in 20 other states and several countries according to Steven Ibison, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI Tampa Division.

"Car cloning is going on all over the country. Different agencies are dealing with it on a day to day basis," Ibison said. "I would venture to say there are thousands of cloned cars out there that we haven't found yet."

The car cloning ring stretched from Miami and Tampa to Chicago and Mexico City. If convicted the ring leaders could be sentenced to more than 180 years in prison.

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