Police investigate theft of luxury cars from Evanston dealership

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FOX 32 NEWS - It’s happened again. Gone in 60 seconds.

Another car dealership has been victimized by thieves targeting high end vehicles. The latest target is the Autobarn in Evanston where overnight on Friday, four BMWs and a Porsche were stolen in a smash and drive.

On Friday night, though, a black BMW convertible, which was one of the stolen vehicles, was back in the dealership without a scratch, saved because of the top. The thief apparently could not figure out how to get it to close and with it being so cold, the car was abandoned at Lake Shore Drive and Fullerton along with another stolen BMW.

This episode of Grand Theft Auto played out around midnight. Six young men are seen on security video smashing their way into the dealership and then an office, where they rummaged around and found keys to six used luxury cars.

Minutes later, they are seen driving five vehicles out. But one thief picked a stick shift, which he didn't know how to drive, so he is seen running out empty handed behind his partners in crime. Police found that vehicle running inside when they arrived.

“Well it's very worrisome because it seems like the acts are getting more and more brazen,” said David Sloan, President Chicago Automobile Trade Association.

Numerous dealerships have been hit in recent months from Highland Park to Naperville to Waukegan. Police say it is usually gang members who are pulling off the heists. They are using the vehicles to commit shootings and other crimes in Chicago and for joyriding.

The Autobarn in Evanston was hit last month, too.

“Customers were coming to get their vehicles serviced and they would leave them right in the front entrance way, there in the garage door with the keys in it, and two guys walked in and just grabbed two cars that had the keys in it and then left,” said Commander Joe Dugan of Evanston Police.

Dealership across the region are being warned.

“We've put out a number of alerts to the dealers, just to be cognizant of the best practices, keeping keys secure so they're not leaving keys in cars not they're not leaving cars running you know common sense things,” Sloan said.

No one has been arrested in the most recent Evanston case. But police in Cook and DuPage Counties have assembled task forces so the various agencies can exchange information and try to solve the cases. Police are not sure if it is an organized gang or a loosely assembled theft rings that are responsible.