Pompano Beach, Florida has recently become a hot spot for thieves interested in a very specific type of car… the Ford Mustang Cobra. According to the Miami Herald, four Cobras were stolen near U.S. 1 south of Atlantic Boulevard. Of these four, three were stolen from the Pompano Isles neighborhood. Given the location of these thefts, any potential prosecution would be brought by the Broward County State Attorney’s Office, which is located in Fort Lauderdale.
The Broward Sheriff’s Office suspects that three or four people may be involved. However, only one possible suspect has been caught on video surveillance. Unfortunately, this video was taken at a bank in Hialeah when the suspect tried using a check card that was left inside one of the stolen Cobras by its owner.
This fact is interesting because it still does not indicate who has been stealing the cars. While most people are not aware of this, there are different types of criminal groups in South Florida who focus on different types of criminal activity. Some steal cars, some grow pot, others steal credit cards, driver’s licenses, and check books.
It is not uncommon for car thieves to sell stolen credit cards to credit card groups within hours of a new auto theft. Most car thieves are only interested in the car and view the found credit cards as extra booty. Knowing that most people will report a stolen credit card right away, it is not surprising to learn that the card taken from the stolen Cobra was used within two and half hours of the auto theft. It would not be surprising to later learn that the card in question had exchanged hands from the auto thief to a credit card thief in such a short time. Offenders of this sort are very cunning and take what they do seriously – even though it is crime.
While obtaining this man’s image on video is a priceless clue, it still does not prove that he participated in stealing the car in question. All it proves is that he tried to make a transaction with a credit card that was not his.
As a former prosecutor, I can tell you that this person is a perfect target for “flipping.” When a prosecutor “flips” a witness, a sweetheart plea deal is made to the target in exchange for actionable intelligence on criminal enterprises or in exchange for truthful testimony in another prosecution.
While the man captured on video may not have participated in stealing the car in question, he certainly knows someone who did. This makes him an invaluable resource to law enforcement, who wish to solve this string of crimes and protect the community from further thefts.
While I expect these thieves to be ratted on by someone who knows them or works with them, I would not be surprised if they were caught red-handed. One thing that comes with fancy cars are fancy GPS systems and LoJack anti-theft systems. Eventually these thieves will make a mistake and steal the wrong car.
Unless of course these thieves are so sophisticated that they know how to bypass such electronic systems. If that is the case, they still may fall prey to a watchful owner or a home surveillance camera.
Ultimately, the details of how they are caught will govern the extent of any available defense. Since no one has even been arrested yet, it is hard to predict how the dust may ultimately settle. Until then, keep your eyes on your Cobras!