Thieves Are Using A New Way To Steal Cars

Fresno Police say they've discovered a new way criminals are stealing cars. Investigators say crooks are using stolen identities to buy cars from dealerships and then they sell the cars for parts.

"Every individual we arrest has numerous victims," says Sgt. Tim Tietjen with the Fresno Police Department, "So you start compiling that and it's quite a lot."

Sgt. Tietjen showed KMPH Fox 26 News a table full of stolen drivers licenses and equipment used to make them. Police busted a large I.D. and auto theft ring on Tuesday. Six people were arrested, including a man with his pictures on eight different I.D.'s

"We went into the house and it looked like a little shop. They were making the I.D.'s as we walked in," says Sgt. Tietjen, "It was interesting that there were 9 people in the residence and they were working to victimize so many people."

Police say they also found a meth pipe during the bust. Investigators say they believe the thieves were buying meth with the money they made from selling those new cars.

This type of crime is pretty new, so police say they're still learning about it.

"We're working to understand the crews and identify the crews," says Sgt. Tietjen, "We're working with our identity theft people to put together strong cases and hopefully we'll get more stringent penalties from the District Attorney's office."

Police say they are going to work with dealers so they can avoid selling to crooks.