Car thieves target Hollywood dealership, stealing keys hours before getting away with 3 vehicles

A group of car thieves posed as customers in order to take advantage of a Fort Lauderdale car dealership.

HOLLYWOOD, Fla. – A group of car thieves posed as customers in order to take advantage of a Fort Lauderdale car dealership. 

The dealership still has yet to recover one of the three cars that were stolen early Thursday morning, but after learning how the suspects were able to start the cars, officials say they’ll be making some changes with how they conduct business.

Surveillance cameras rolling as three cars drove off from Drive On Autos in Hollywood just after 1 a.m. Thursday. 

In the video, you can see one of the suspects on the ground cutting the fence while another man walks along State Road 7 as a lookout.

"They put the fence down and then they started moving the cars," said Vinny Garcia, financial manager for Drive On Autos.

Garcia said two of the three cars were recovered through a GPS system; a Dodge Charger and a Toyota SUV. 

But when it came to a white Dodge Challenger, the GPS system brought them to a home in Fort Lauderdale.  

"The guy opened the garage. There is a Dodge there, but it is a Charger," said Garcia. 

Not the white Challenger that was stolen, stumping employees who were also still trying to understand how the suspects were able to start the cars.

"They changed the key so that is why it is so easy for them," Garcia said. 

Surveillance video taken Wednesday shows a group checking out all three cars that were stolen. A sales associate opens the car, leaving the key with who he thought was a potential customer.

Employees told Local 10 News' Roy Ramos that the suspects were able to steal these vehicles by bringing a key similar to the car they were going to steal. 

Earlier in the day when they previewed those vehicles, they would make the switch, come back later that night and just turn on the car. 

Garcia said he urges sales associates not to hand over keys to the customer unless they’re accompanied by an employee. 

Anyone with information is urged to call - Broward Crime Stoppers at 954-493-TIPS.

As for that other location the GPS led employees to, police said the GPS device was likely disengaged in that area.

About the Author:

Roy Ramos joined the Local 10 News team in 2018. Roy is a South Florida native who grew up in Florida City. He attended Christopher Columbus High School, Homestead Senior High School and graduated from St. Thomas University.