Now in the custody of the FBI, a gang calling itself the Hooligans Motorcycle Gang, had launched an operation in South California whereby they stole over a hundred Jeep Wranglers and moved them to Mexico where they would either sell the entire jeep or sell its parts.
The Hooligans Motorcycle Club: According to the indictment issued by the authorities, the gang is originally based in Tijuana, Mexico and used both traditional and modern hacking methods to steal.
Furthermore, the club is divided into units that are responsible for different tasks. The units, in turn, have members that have specialized tasks. The unit responsible for the Jeep Wrangler theft goes by the name of Dirty 30. The group includes a leader, key cutter, a scout, a transporter and a thief.
In a press release, the Justice Department sad that:
“According to court records, the transnational criminal organization is responsible for the theft of more than 150 Jeep Wranglers worth approximately $4.5 million within San Diego County since 2014. The Hooligans used high-tech methods to disable security systems and steal away with Jeeps in just a few minutes, in the middle of the night, while unsuspecting owners slept nearby. After stealing the Jeeps in San Diego County, the Hooligans transported them to Tijuana, Mexico, where the vehicles were sold or stripped for parts.”
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How did the gang operate? The operation would begin by the scout hunting down Jeep Wranglers and motorcycles that could be stolen. In this case, it was South California where the scout was based.
In the case of a motorcycle, the theft would be much easier as it would not involve any hi-tech key code. However, in the case of a Jeep Wrangler, the operation would be much more complicated with the Scout obtaining the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN).
The scout would then send the VIN to the leader. The leader would pass on the VIN to the key cutter, who, in turn, would use it to access the database that contains replacement key codes. The key cutter would then download two codes and use the first to carve out the replacement key.
This key, along with the second code, would then be passed on to the leaders who would pass it on to the thief. The thief would then steal the Jeep by disabling the alarm system through the hood and then opening the door with the replacement key.
Through a computer program attached to the dashboard of the Jeep, the thief would use the second code to reprogram the authentication system so that the new key is in sync with the Jeep.
The transporter would then take the Jeep to move it to Mexico. Around 150 Jeep Wranglers have been stolen this way, reports Sandiego Union-Tribune.
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Operation Last Ride: According to US officials, the operation was named as Operation Last Ride and that it earned the gang a total of $4.5 million. However, nine members of Hooligans Motorcycle Gang have been charged in “Sophisticated High-Tech Auto Theft Scheme.”
“The investigation, which authorities dubbed “Operation Last Ride,” began during the summer of 2014 following a series of Jeep thefts across the county. Prosecutors said law enforcement gained a huge break when a homeowner’s security system captured the theft of the owner’s car on tape.”
Jeep has been advised to change the hood system so that it is much more secure so that the alarms cannot be disabled.
Watch one of the Jeep owners caught the whole act on her security camera
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