High-Tech Thievery: The Car Cloners

Law-enforcement officers are seeing a new way to cool down hot cars

What's the new way to cool down a hot car? Law-enforcement officers across the U.S. are seeing a rash of so-called car clonings, in which the vehicle identification number (VIN) of an unsuspecting auto is duplicated on a stolen one. Miami police last month busted an $8 million cloning ring as part of an 18-month investigation that has so far expanded into seven other states and Canada and arrested dozens of suspects, including illegal-alien smugglers in Phoenix, Ariz., and drug traffickers in Virginia Beach, Va. Says Florida attorney general Charlie Crist: "It's a new method that makes [stolen cars] much harder...

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