Ford Bronco RaptorImage: Ford
Everything from Mustangs to Broncos have been snatched from under Ford’s nose in Michigan. Many of these vehicles end up being “legitimately” sold to unsuspecting buyers, which was the case with one unlucky soul in Arizona, CBS5 reports, who is now out $75,000.
The Ford Bronco II Is an Underappreciated JV Bronco
A man named Nick — his last name was kept hidden for the sake of the story — thought he found a sweet deal when he saw a Ford Bronco for sale on Craigslist. Before having any money change hands, Nick wanted to make sure everything was good to go with the Bronco. So he paid for a Carfax and and took the title to a third-party office of the Arizona Department of Motor Vehicles. According to Nick, everything checked out “If there was any issues, the VIN would have flagged – I’m assuming in the system that they have. And it didn’t,” he told CBS5.
Arizona man buys SUV stolen from Ford factory in Michigan
With everything seemingly good to go, Nick paid the seller $75,000 for the Bronco. But unknown to him, everything wasn’t on the up and up. The Bronco was actually stolen from a Ford plant in Detroit and was part of a larger theft ring, despite having Alaska plates. The reason Carfax and the DMV didn’t flag the Bronco? “…it turns out the sellers had switched the VIN. The new VIN does not appear to have raised any red flags in the state’s auto-title computer system,” CBS5 says.
Police were tipped off a few weeks later. Nick attempted to go trade the Bronco at a local dealership for a truck. A salesperson at the dealer caught the VIN discrepancy; Nick says the general manager of the dealer “was like really pissed off and screaming at me on the phone” Police took the Bronco not long after.
Now Nick is out $75,000. Seven people were arrested in Michigan in connection with the theft ring in early August with other victims in Arizona, Tennessee, and New Mexico. As for the Bronco, CBS5 says authorities aren’t sure how it ended up in the southwest.
With auto thieves getting better and better at bypassing things like vehicle registration system checks and Carfax, this all shows when buying a vehicle in a private sale, you can’t solely rely on those technologies to be sure the vehicle is being legitimately sold. The main thing anyone can do is just be wary of buying a vehicle on somewhere like Craigslist period, especially for hot-selling and popular models like the Bronco.