Michigan auto thefts on the rise; some drivers falling victim to crimes of opportunity

Posted at 12:50 PM, Jun 17, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-17 18:24:58-04

WARREN, Mich. (WXYZ) — There's been a rise in auto thefts across Michigan, and a portion of those are crimes of opportunity. One driver didn’t realize that just 10 feet away from the gas pump was a thief hiding behind a dumpster ready to strike.

“(By the) time I turned around, this guy had jumped in my truck and pulled off,” Harold Rogan said.

Take a look at the surveillance video that captured Rogan’s truck getting stolen right in front of his eyes in Warren:

Surveillance video captures vehicle theft

Rogan says he pulled into a Sunoco gas station on 8 Mile Road near Van Dyke Avenue to fill up last Friday at 9 a.m. like he had done so many other times.

As he focused on backing up to the diesel pump, he says he vaguely noticed a man around the parking lot property but nothing out of the ordinary. It wasn’t until Rogan walked to the gas station door that he noticed the man jump into his vehicle and take off.

“I couldn’t believe it what was happening. I didn’t see anybody when I got out my truck,” Rogan said.

But it was too late. “He left out of here, turned right, went up 8 Mile Road going west,” Rogan said.

It's the last he’s seen of his truck, which he hopes someone will recognize, but without the signage.

Courtesy NICB

While we were there, another man, James Thompson, left his pickup truck running. Rogan showed him the surveillance footage, warning him to be careful.

“I had a catalytic converter stolen off my truck, put me out of business for two months and cost me $10,000,” Thompson said.

According to the Michigan Automobile Theft Prevention Authority, auto thefts and auto-related thefts are up, starting in 2021 continuing to today. From personal belongings to vehicles stolen off dealer lots and car parts.

As one example, Detroit police say preliminary data shows auto theft is up 24%.

“These people are criminals. There’s no nice way to put it. There’s no, 'sorry you had a bad day, and you stole somebody’s car.' What it is they are criminals and we need to start blaming the criminal again for a lot of these crimes that are happening,” Michigan State Police Lt. Michael Shaw said.

RELATED:
Crime of opportunity: How to protect yourself from catalytic converter theft
Royal Oak police: 9 car break-ins over past few days involved stolen wheels, catalytic converters
Investigation leads to recovery of more than 175 stolen catalytic converters from Detroit home
Thieves obsession with Ford Mustangs, F-150 Raptors keep police in Flat Rock, Dearborn busy

Criminals have caused Rogan to lose work.

“It’s been chaos. Everybody’s calling me wanting to know when I can start their little jobs. And my nephew and them help me out. They’re riding around looking for it, but no success,” Rogan said.

You can report auto theft crimes by calling 855-642-4847. You can also go online to the Department of Homeland Security’s website.