HOUSTON – The Houston Police Department’s Auto Theft Division’s Vehicle Fraud Unit has been so successful in stopping accused thieves before they’re able to purchase a vehicle using bogus information, that law enforcement agencies from across Texas are now taking notice.
“One of the things we’re trying to push forward is to be able to capture the suspects before there is an actual vehicle that is taken,” said Sgt. D. Schlosser with HPD’s Auto Theft Division Vehicle Fraud Unit.
While 2021 had its challenges, it was a banner year for HPD’s Auto Theft Division Vehicle Fraud Unit.
The unit prevented nearly $2 million worth of vehicles from being stolen through fraud by stopping 33 suspects from buying vehicles using stolen or fake identities.
They’ve also prevented more than $5 million in vehicle fraud since 2018 by arresting the accused thieves on the spot.
Investigators credit their success to the partnership they’ve built with Houston area dealerships, where they train them on how to spot and identify fraud.
“The partnership that we created has been able to let law enforcement and dealerships battle the same crime so that we can get the suspect’s in custody,” Schlosser said.
It’s not only a Houston problem. Other law enforcement agencies in cities across Texas are taking notice of HPD’s success and looking to the department to help them duplicate their efforts by partnering with dealerships in their areas, including the Dallas/Ft. Worth area.
There are also plans to continue training in San Antonio, Austin, The Valley and far West Texas.