(WXYZ) — Nine men are behind bars for allegedly stealing five brand new Chevrolet Camaros from General Motors' Lansing Grand River Assembly plant.
Michigan State Police said the men led police on a high-speed chase down I-96 through Ingham, Livingston and Oakland counties Monday morning.
The pursuit started after midnight. MSP Lt. Brian Oleksyk said a BOL, or be on the lookout, broadcast over the police scanner alerted state troopers.
MSP said the path of the pursuit included Kensington Road to Grand River Avenue through Lyon Township, Wixom, Novi and Farmington Hills.
A dispatcher on the police scanner said, "They usually carry a bunch of cash to fill up because (automakers) started keeping the cars on E (empty) because they started getting hit so much."
Oleksyk explained, "With these pursuits, some stop sticks were utilized to get these cars to stop."
Several of the stolen Camaros ended up with damage.
Oleksyk said the nine suspects are between the ages of 20 and 24. Eight are from Detroit. One is from Saginaw.
"... we take stolen vehicle reports all the time. We recover stolen vehicles, but this one... for an ongoing investigation, which is really interesting and really peculiar, is that these were five brand new vehicles all traveling the same way, maybe to the same destination and all located on I-96," the lieutenant explained.
"In my experience of 22 years in being a state trooper, stolen car is only the tip of the iceberg," he continued.
The lieutenant posed the questions: 'Were the vehicles going to a chop shop to be sold for parts? Were they going to be illegally re-tagged and sold?' These are two questions the investigation will explore and seek to uncover.
"This is kind of something you see out of the movies. Is there a ringleader behind this? .... So, this is in the early stages to see if that's a possibility. We're working, continuing our investigation in that area."
He said the suspects are facing multiple charges including resisting and obstructing; receiving and concealing stolen property; and fleeing and eluding. More charges are expected.
In a statement to 7 Action News, a spokesman with General Motors said, "We are cooperating with local law enforcement to recover stolen vehicles from GM’s Lansing Grand River Assembly Plant. We’ll be enhancing our security at the plant and surrounding parking lots."
"We will pursue prosecution of the involved individuals to the fullest extent of the law," he added.