A Mexican biker gang from Tijuana, known as The Hooligans recently stole 150 Jeep Wranglers in San Diego County, California. The thieves used a high-tech scheme that involved duplicating the vehicles’ key and getting the code for the for the model’s lockout chip.
According to the San Diego Union-Tribune, the car theft ring would find a Wrangler in San Diego and get its VIN. Then they allegedly worked with a car dealer in Cabo San Lucas to access Fiat Chrysler Automobiles’ key database, where they got the pattern for the key and the code for the computer chip.
Returning to Wrangler the gang would open the bonnet and cut the wire to the hooter, use the duplicate key to unlock the vehicle, and reprogram the key’s computer chip to start the SUV. They would then drive the Jeep back to Tijuana and sell them. The group allegedly made $4.5 million from this scheme and used the money to fund other crimes like getting drugs.
Fortunately the scheme has been detected and US federal authorities have arrested three of the gang member,s while six are currently still fugitives.