KPRC 2 Investigates clone cars, flaw allowing vehicle identity theft

Mary N

HOUSTON – Following to your property, your car is possibly the most costly thing you individual. What if you found an individual had stolen your motor vehicle, but it was however in your driveway? It is fundamentally vehicle identification theft. KPRC 2 investigator Amy Davis uncovered a flaw in the state’s titling method letting thieves to steal autos and conceal them in basic sight on our roadways.

Hit and runs, felony activity and toll violators are just a handful of causes it’s vital that police can observe the heritage of each and every car or truck on the street.

Your vehicle identification range is like a social protection selection, unique to your car. Just like your social, robbers are applying VINs to steal your vehicle’s identity.

To make clear how criminals perpetrate this crime, we interviewed Kenneth Davis. He compensated in complete for his 2015 BMW 535 when he purchased it in 2020. He acquired the title for the auto. In 2021, he made the decision to trade it in at a neighborhood dealership for an additional motor vehicle. That is when he uncovered someone else had gotten a bonded title on his BMW, making use of the VIN. The motor vehicle was registered to Davis and an individual else who lived in Spring.


Kenneth Davis confirmed investigator Amy Davis evidence that he experienced lawful title to his 2015 BMW when a person else was capable to acquire a bonded title on it. (Copyright 2020 by KPRC Click2Houston – All rights reserved.)

“I was completely floored,” Davis told Amy Davis, recounting what the staff at the dealership informed him.“They were like, ‘Well, the title that you have has your name on it, but however, when we pull it to search into the procedure, the car’s truly registered to someone else.’”

Davis could not provide his car simply because on paper, it did not belong to him.

It was registered to an address in Spring. When Houston police automobile theft investigators drove to the tackle, they identified a further black 2015 BMW 535 in the driveway. It’s the same make, design and colour as Davis’ with license plates tied to his auto identification range. The auto was a clone.

“You would not know. You would not,” Davis defined. “I would likely walk to the wrong car contemplating it was my motor vehicle simply because they’re identical.”

I know what you are thinking. Why? Why would the owner of one vehicle get it registered using the VIN of another car or truck?

Sergeant Tracy Hicks with HPD’s Car Theft Endeavor Drive answered that query.


“About 100% of the time, that car’s basically a stolen auto,” he said.

Hicks confirmed the BMW clone of Kenneth’s car or truck was stolen from a Sharpstown spot maintenance store.

Even crooks know they’re on borrowed time driving about in a stolen car. But if they get a license plate that goes back to a car or truck with no document, they can push the stolen car unnoticed. Heck, they can even offer it.

“If there were being any authorized ramifications, if they got in an incident or whatsoever, it would arrive back again to me and not that individual,” discussed Davis.

Joel Olvera owns Surety Bonds, a title bonding organization. He understands the fraud and said he sees it daily. He reported he sees one particular to a few cars each individual working day wherever motorists arrive into his business attempting to get a bonded title for stolen cars.

Bonded title enterprise advertising and marketing throughout from the Texas Division of Motor Cars. (Copyright 2020 by KPRC Click2Houston – All legal rights reserved.)

“It is about. It is surprising. And I would say it is unsafe as nicely,” Olvera informed Davis.

Motor vehicle owners can legitimately apply for a bonded title when they’ve dropped the initial.


“Most of the tales we listen to are, ‘My grandfather gave me this car or truck. He cannot find the title. A household member handed away and they experienced it and it was supplied to me,’” stated Sgt. Hicks.

Below those situations, point out law demands that law enforcement officers verify the VIN ahead of a bonded title can be issued.

HPD Car Theft Task Drive officers do VIN verifications each Monday morning at 1400 Dart. (Copyright 2020 by KPRC Click2Houston – All legal rights reserved.)

HPD does VIN verifications at 1400 Dart each and every Monday early morning. Officers look at out each and every motor vehicle.

“We personally inspect that motor vehicle for the VIN variety, confirm that, that VIN belongs on that motor vehicle, and then indicator the paperwork,” Hicks stated.

Candidates then acquire this document back to the Division of Motor Automobiles to apply for the bonded title.


But KPRC 2 Investigates learned that the condition legislation doesn’t need this type of VIN inspection for each and every car or truck.

The DMV processed and accredited both the title it issued to Kenneth Davis and the bonded title issued to a further driver using the VIN of Kenneth’s automobile. (Copyright 2020 by KPRC Click on2Houston – All legal rights reserved.)

A DMV spokesperson advised us by electronic mail, in Davis’ situation, “There was a report for this vehicle, so the applicant was not demanded to have the auto inspected by regulation enforcement.”

The bonded title software asks the applicant:

  • “Are you in legal possession of the car?”

  • “Are you in authorized management of the vehicle?”

The individual implementing making use of Davis’ VIN checked “yes” for both of those inquiries. Plainly, it was not legitimate.

“So, who’s going out to the parking great deal to make guaranteed that the human being making use of for the bond has that car?” Davis requested Olvera.

“No a single,” Olvera answered.

“Nobody’s examining that?” Amy followed up.

“Nobody at all,” explained Olvera.

The DMV advised KPRC 2 investigates “The applicant qualified to staying in possession and lawful management of the car or truck.”

“They could be telling the reality. They could be lying. And they just depend on a simple remedy on a basic concern,” stated Olvera.


“Those VIN figures can be transferred to almost any title on any auto and the operator of the true vehicle might not even know they’re remaining duplicated,” said an incredulous Davis.

Are a large amount of individuals finding bonded titles in Texas?

The DMV could not convey to us how many bonded titles it has issued without the need of law enforcement inspecting the vehicles, but they say the point out-issued 65,677 bonded titles last 12 months. That was much more than 23,000 than they issued the yr before. The state issued 42,227 bonded titles in 2020.

Hicks claims if two titles are issued for the exact VIN, the DMV generally catches it.

“What typically happens is, equally of those people who have that amount get a letter stating, ‘Hey, your title.. and as a result, license plates, are both invalid. You the two require to go to your neighborhood DMV, and find out what the deal is.’ And they conclude up at your regional law enforcement division,” stated Hicks.

Davis claims he was never notified, and the DMV couldn’t explain to us who, if anybody, it notified of the double titles on the identical automobile.


“If you make a mistake, possess up to it. And correct it,” said Davis, talking to the DMV. “And never set the citizens by means of this type of things when it’s not their fault.”

It took about a few months, but Davis eventually acquired the mess straightened out. The stolen clone car or truck was confiscated. There are many victims of these crimes. The thief offered the cloned motor vehicle on Offer Up to a woman who did not know it was stolen. She is now out the money she paid for the auto far too. Police say the very best way to avert this from happening is to need a auto inspection for every single motor vehicle that desires a new title.

Wednesday early morning on KPRC 2 News, we will present you how to make guaranteed the made use of motor vehicle you are obtaining is not stolen.

Copyright 2022 by KPRC Click on2Houston – All legal rights reserved.

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