Thinking of buying a car from a seller off Craigslist? Read this first…
SEATTLE — Dennis Kenny is accused of not only stealing a car, but selling it online.
The King County Regional Auto Theft Unit tracked him down in Kent.
An undercover trooper identified only as ‘Matt’ says, “This case stems from a vehicle that was stolen from a dealership up in Kirkland. The car ended up being listed on Craigslist and purchased by an unwitting victim.”
When that victim tried to register the car, they discovered the paperwork was fake.
So on Thursday, Matt and several other undercover officers paid the suspected seller a visit.
“We secured a search warrant looking for the computers that were used to post the car on Craigslist, documents that went along with the car, documents that went along with the title,” Matt explained.
And this isn’t that uncommon, according to undercover detective ‘Kenny’, who works for the Kent Police Department.
“Law enforcement up here, several agencies, began to recover vehicles that were stolen out-of-state, and they had been posted for sale on Craigslist. So we had unsuspecting persons up here purchasing vehicles off Craigslist not knowing they were from another state,” Kenny said.
Last year, there were 25,000 car thefts here and most of those were near Seattle.
John Anderson is with the National Insurance Crime Bureau and explains, “About a third to a half of the vehicles stolen in Washington state come out of the greater King County area.”
He adds that mid-1990 Hondas, Accords, and Civics are among the most popular because they are easy to steal.
“They’re being taken with jiggle keys or defeated car locks, and defeated ignitions,” said Anderson.
He recommends putting a ‘Club’ on your car to discourage thieves. And if you buy a car online, there are a few things to look for.
“They should be able to provide you the VIN number for the car, the license plate for the car, some type of history for the vehicle,” Anderson said.
That could help keep you safe from car thieves.
Matt says of their search at Dennis Kenny’s place, “There are numerous vehicles here that we are checking to see if those were stolen as well. They’re being kept in sheds and containers on the back side of the property out of view.”
Dennis Kenny has not been charged as of Thursday night.