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Trio facing theft charges after allegedly taking Michigan cars

Three defendants have been arrested in connection with a suspected car theft ring that has been targeting vehicles throughout southern Michigan. Official reports show that the trio was arrested after they were allegedly attempting to steal a vehicle from a dealership on East M-21. Defendants in the case are facing theft charges, including unlawful driving away of an automobile and conspiracy to commit the same crime. Authorities say they intend to attempt to link the men, ages 30 to 33, to a variety of other vehicle thefts in the state.

Official reports show that the men may have devised a system to allow them to drive away with vehicles from dealerships throughout the region. One or two of the men would distract a salesperson at the dealership, while the other would swap out a vehicle's keys with false sets that only appeared to turn the vehicle on. Then, the defendants returned to the dealership with the actual keys and attempted to take the vehicle. Authorities say that the men in this case were arrested on criminal charges after an employee at the dealership noticed that one of the defendants had been included on an e-mail warning to businesses throughout the area.

News reports show that officers in Mason, Lansing and Fowlerville also suspect that the men may have committed vehicle thefts in those communities as well. To date, nearly $600,000 worth of vehicles have been spirited away using the key-swap method; officers say none of them has been recovered. Investigators believe that the vehicles are being sold for parts.

Defendants who are facing theft charges, including grand theft auto and other car-related allegations, deserve access to a quick, fair trial. Those defendants who are facing similar theft charges may benefit from consultations with qualified criminal defense attorneys, who can help them learn more about their courtroom rights. Further, an arrest and arraignment for criminal charges does not automatically make a defendant guilty. Criminal defense attorneys can provide the information needed for these and other defendants to make educated decisions about their legal options.

Source: M Live, "Detroit men charged with car theft, suspected in ring that struck in Shiawassee County, Lansing area" Gary Ridley, Dec. 10, 2013

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