Vehicles stolen in St. Louis metro trafficked to Mexico

ST. LOUIS, Mo. (KMOV) — A 2015 Honda CRV stolen from a Glendale apartment building was recovered 1,000 miles away in Laredo, Texas, where a transport driver was attempting to cross the border into Mexico, according to Glendale police.

The vehicle belonged to Andrew Wendell, who said: “Surely surprising how it made it all the way there.”

According to Capt. Bob Catlett of the Glendale Police Department had the Honda and a 2017 GMC Terrain stolen from a house on the 200 block of Edwin Avenue on October 25, 2022. He said the GMC was later recovered in the St. Louis area in December. But, he said, it wasn’t until Jan. 23 that the department learned the Honda had been discovered stolen by US Customs and Border Protection at the Texas border crossing.

According to Interpol, the international law enforcement agency, the problem of vehicles being stolen in wealthy countries and shipped to developing countries is a major worldwide problem known as the stolen vehicle trade. The agency worked with police in 77 countries on a two-week crackdown last May that resulted in 222 arrests and the recovery of more than 1,100 vehicles.

Catlett said the stolen Honda went on a long odyssey after being picked up at Glendale. He said the thieves used a fictitious name and address in Maffitt’s 5200 block to request and obtain a new title after claiming the previous one was lost. And then the SUV was sold to an auto wholesaler in Nebraska, who sold the SUV to another wholesaler in Mexico, Catlett said. The Honda was determined to be stolen by border officials before it could enter Mexico.

News 4 has learned that a Ford F-150 pickup that was stolen in St. Louis was recently found in Mexico. And a BMW stolen from a Manchester dealership last year has been recovered at a US border crossing into Mexico.

US Customs and Border Protection issued this statement regarding stolen cars being shipped to Mexico.

“Customs and Border Protection officers at ports of entry in the United States inspect outbound travelers and cargo every day to ensure compliance with applicable US laws. Occasionally, officers discover illegal products, undeclared currency, and vehicles reported stolen. These impounded vehicles will be turned over to local law enforcement for further investigation.”

The National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) said an analysis of crime data shows an escalation in crime across the country in recent years. NICB said vehicle crime, carjacking and catalytic converter theft are near record highs.

The agency said it has a long-standing relationship with the State Department and the US Consulate in Tijuana, which have ongoing efforts to recover stolen vehicles shipped to Mexico and return them to their owners.

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