• Nearly 80 percent of stolen vehicles are recovered with six days of theft, with Mondays and Tuesdays reflecting the highest recovery rates. No national data is available about recovery locations, but information can be determined based on the area and the reason for the theft.


    Vehicles stolen for transportation, joyrides or a "crack rental" are often used in the commission of a subsequent crime and are usually recovered locally by police during an ensuing investigation.

    Insurance Fraud

    In the reported thefts in which the owners are attempting to commit insurance fraud, the vehicles are often found concealed on the owner's property.

    Illegal Immigration/Drug Smuggling

    Arizona, New Mexico and California lead the nation in automotive theft reports. Many of these vehicles have been found by border patrol agents and police in relation to crimes involving the illegal drug and immigration trade.

    Stripping for Parts

    "Chop shops" are able to quickly strip vehicles and sell their parts. In these cases, vehicle recovery is unlikely.


    By obtaining a vehicle's registration and insurance cards, thieves can legally obtain a license plate registered to the owner. Subsequently, they steal a vehicle model matching that of matching the original documentation and apply a counterfeit VIN number.

    Source: Different Types of Auto Theft Crime in the United States, 2000 Most Stolen Vehicles

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