Pub. 9 2020-2021 Issue 2

PUB YR 9 2020-2021 | ISSUE 2 15 RATT investigations from 2019 to 2021 have produced 175 arrests. R ecently, CHP Captain Gil Campa, Commander of the San Diego County Regional Auto Theft Task Force (RATT) and two Sergeants from the Task Force visited with the NCDA Board of Directors to provide an update and overview regarding RATT’s enforcement priorities, effectiveness and challenges. RATT’s mission is to effectively communicate with stakeholders in San Diego County to reduce the incidence of vehicle theft and increase the apprehension and prosecution of professional thieves using regional proactive investigative methods and public education. RATT’s effectiveness is enhanced significantly through the participation of many law enforcement agencies, including: • San Diego District Attorney’s Office • California Highway Patrol • California Department of Insurance • National Insurance Crime Bureau • San Diego Police Department • San Diego Sheriff’s Department • Chula Vista Police Department • National City Police Department • La Mesa Police Department • California Department of Motor Vehicles • United States Border Patrol • United States Secret Service Auto theft is still on the rise in San Diego County, with 10,175 vehicles stolen in 2020, which is an increase of 2.3% compared to 2019. Our county is now ranked fourth in the state, behind Los Angeles, Riverside and San Bernardino. San Diego County accounts for nearly 6% of the 180,939 vehicles stolen in California throughout 2020. On the enforcement front, the RATT team performed 1,752 investigations over a period spanning 2019 to 2021, resulting in 175 arrests and 667 vehicle recoveries, valued at over $11 million. Eleven separate investigations have involved fraudulent purchases from San Diego dealerships. Thirty-seven suspects have been identified and over 140 vehicles are involved in this growing crime trend. Some of the RATT investigative “highlights” include: • 2021: RATT Detectives have been looking into several vehicle thefts from car dealership lots in Poway, Lemon Grove and Oceanside. Some of the stolen vehicles have been recovered in San Bernardino and Los Angeles Counties. Currently there is no direct connections between the thefts. • Operation Clean Sweep: This investigation involved the fraudulent purchase of a vehicle from a luxury brand in San Diego. An arrest resulted in the identification of three additional vehicles purchased using the same fraudulent methods. The investigators determined that the suspect’s brother and a dealership salesperson assisted in the use of stolen identities to fraudulently purchase vehicles. • Operation Sharp Practice: This three month investigation involved seven individuals that fraudulently purchased 20 vehicles. The theft ring utilized fraudulent military IDs and California IDs to purchase new vehicles. The total value of those vehicles exceeded $350,000. • Operation Blindside: After three years, this investigation revealed that 110 vehicles were purchased by fraudulent means, at a loss of over $5 million dollars. Twenty-one defendants were charged with more than 275 felony violations. In addition to investigating auto theft related crimes, RATT can help dealers with Identity Theft Protection Alert (iPAS) and dealership training to help your key employees better identify fraudulent transactions. Training will be restricted to Owners, General Managers and Finance Managers. If you need assistance with a suspicious or fraudulent purchase, or if your dealership has been the victim of auto theft, please contact the RATT team using their direct line, 858-627-4000. If you call after normal business hours, please listen to the voicemail message for the on-call supervisor’s mobile phone number or, you can reach the RATT team by going to their website, .