HOUSTON – His name is Jerod Atkins but that’s not the name Houston police say he used when he tried to buy an $85,000 brand new truck from a local dealership using a stolen identity.
Rarely, do they stop at just one, investigators said.
“If they can obtain two or three more vehicles, they will continue to do so until that identification doesn’t work anymore. They’ll hop from one identity to another,” said Sgt. D. Schlosser, HPD’s Auto Theft Division Vehicle Fraud Unit.
Atkins is no stranger to law enforcement.
Police told KPRC 2 he has quite the rap sheet, including charges for narcotics, evading arrest and a parole violation for forgery. Atkins’ arrest caps off what has been a busy month for vehicle fraud investigators as they’ve seen an uptick in arrests for these crimes in July.
“We’ve been catching a lot more of these crimes in progress. I do believe it is something that’s a growing trend because it is such a lucrative crime,” Schlosser said.
Police said this about so much more than just arresting the bad guys while they’re in action. HPD’s Auto Theft Division’s Vehicle Fraud Unit has put a premium on educating car dealers on how to teach their employees how to spot and identify fraud.
Over 1,900 employees have been trained over the past three years. Every time one of them gets away with it, that cost can be passed onto the consumer.
“Dealerships, when they lose money or when the finance company loses money, the bottom lines are affected and therefore it is a trickle-down effect,” Schlosser said.