FORT LAUDERDALE, FL – The Broward Sheriff’s Office Burglary Apprehension Team is putting the heat on car thieves in Broward County. It’s part of an ongoing effort to target HEAT – High End Auto Theft.
Each day a team of detectives from the BAT Unit patrols the streets searching for thieves who are hunting for high end cars, like Mercedes-Benzes, Range Rovers and other pricey rides. The thieves prey on those who think their car’s technology or safe location will protect them. In fact, BAT Unit detectives say the thieves operating in the tri-county area are often successful in stealing cars because unsuspecting owners leave their car doors unlocked and the keys or key fobs inside.
The value of these stolen cars on the streets is high. And the thieves are adept at not only stealing the vehicles, but are part of a ring that disables installed tracking devices, changes the VIN’s and sells them to locations across the state and country. However, the BAT Unit is working to put the brakes on these crimes. During calendar year 2020, the BAT Unit made 174 arrests, recovered 69 stolen cars, several of which are pictured above, and seized 17 firearms. The total value of the cars recovered in 2020 is more than $4.3 million.
By utilizing a myriad of investigative techniques, combined with Broward Sheriff’s Office’s resources and invaluable teamwork from neighboring law enforcement agencies, hardly a day goes by that BAT detectives don’t make an arrest on a stolen car or significant progress toward recovering one. In recent months, the BAT Unit has solved dozens of cases. They recovered a stolen Land Rover and a stolen firearm, busted a pair of men suspected of stealing catalytic converters from vans across two counties and arrested two men accused of being prime suspects in the high end auto theft trend.
The BAT Unit wants to enlist the public’s help to put even more heat on criminals. Here’s what you can do to protect yourself – and your vehicle:
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- Don’t leave your car doors unlocked
- Don’t leave your car keys or fobs in your car
- Don’t leave valuables in your car
- Don’t leave your garage door opener in your car
These simple tips will help prevent you from being victimized. Taking a few extra minutes to protect your vehicle can give you peace of mind and take the heat off of your vehicle.