Detroit automakers are dealing with a rise in new-vehicle thefts from factories and storage lots, and unfortunately, the perpetrators aren't always adults. Three children were caught by Detroit Police on August 22 trying to boost Hellcat-powered cars from a Stellantis storage lot, and the youngest of the bunch was just 11 years old.
According to Fox 2 Detroit, the alleged theft took place at the Jefferson North Plant, located just a few miles northeast of downtown Detroit. The Jeep Grand Cherokee and Dodge Durango are built there, but the storage yard is home to other new vehicles beneath the Stellantis umbrella. The juveniles, aged 11, 12, and 14, were caught attempting to steal Dodge Charger and Challenger Hellcat models. 700-horsepower muscle cars are daunting for even experienced drivers, never mind those who can barely see over the steering wheel.
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There's no mention of the time of day when the children were caught, nor how far along they were in the process. Obviously they didn't get away, but the Fox 2 report mentions an increase of vehicle thefts in the Detroit area. Local police say carjackings are up 40 percent compared to 2021, and a lieutenant with the Detroit police department said this was the youngest child he's ever seen involved in vehicle theft. There's also suspicion that adults might be guiding children with instructions to steal cars.
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This certainly isn't the first report of cars being stolen from automaker facilities we've heard about recently. At the end of July, several arrests were made after thieves made off with new F-150 Raptors stolen from a Ford storage lot in Dearborn. In June, 13 Raptors were stolen from Ford's Dearborn truck plant, and jumping back to December 2021, thieves staged a Hollywood-style heist to steal Mustang Shelby GT500s from the factory in Flat Rock, Michigan. General Motors isn't immune to the thefts, either. In May, several Chevrolet Camaros were stolen from a GM factory in Lansing, 100 miles west of the Motor City.