Airport Car Rental Lots the Hot Spot to Steal Cars

Recently, over the course of 24 hours, a number of high-end vehicles were stolen from Ottawa International Airport: a 2008 Lincoln MKX, a 2008 and 2007 Chrysler 300, a 2008 Ford Edge, a 2008 Ford Escape, The Ottawa Citizen reports.

Sgt. Steve Gardner says one of the latest trends in auto theft is the heist of vehicles from rental companies or car dealerships for shipping overseas.

Sgt. Gardner, of Ottawa's organized auto theft squad, estimates more than 100 vehicles a year are being swiped from dealerships or rental firms, destined for an overseas customer.

This year, there was a rash. From June 13 to July 8, 11 cars were checked out from rental companies—most at the airport—and never returned.

Four were eventually recovered in or near the port of Montreal; the other seven disappeared altogether.

Thieves often use false documentation and credit information acquired via identity theft.

When vehicles are swiped from dealerships, the culprits will often apply for lease or purchase financing online or on the telephone, maximizing the loan and minimizing the time spent face-to-face.

Police are now in discussion with rental companies about how better to improve security and fraud-detection, possibly including the use of surveillance video.

According to The Ottawa Citizen, new regulations mean 2008 cars are now equipped with ignition immobilizers, which means vehicles are much more difficult to "hot-wire" because the keys contain a micro-chip. It is now much better for the bandits to steal the car intact, keys and all, by fraudulent means.

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