Top Holidays for Vehicle Theft in 2014


Holiday car thieves had their busiest day in 2014 on, ironically, Labor Day, stealing 2,200 vehicles according to new data released today by the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB). NICB’s 2014 Annual Holiday Vehicle Theft Report analyzes data from the National Crime Information Center (NCIC), which showed a total of 695,246 vehicle thefts for the year.

After Labor Day, New Year’s Day was the next most active holiday with 2,011 thefts. Halloween came in third with 2,010 thefts followed by Memorial Day with 1,933 thefts. Independence Day rounds out the top five holidays for 2014 with 1,877 thefts.

The holidays with the fewest thefts in 2014 were Christmas Day with 1,225 thefts and Thanksgiving with 1,384 thefts.

Holidays ranked by the number of thefts in 2014 were:

By comparison, the day with the most thefts in all of 2014 was July 7 with 2,361.

NICB reminds drivers this holiday season when leaving your vehicle for whatever reason to take a moment and be sure to hide your valuables from view. Even an empty backpack looks appealing to a thief from the outside.

See the full holiday vehicle theft report here. Watch a video report here.

Northwest Warns of Flooded Vehicle Scams

NICB Senior Special Agent Scott Wagner is interviewed by KING5 about flooded vehicles in the northwest region. The Washington Department of Licensing is warning consumers about a flood vehicles damaged in the Texas and South Carolina floods that could get be repaired and then sold across the state.

249 Stolen Luxury Vehicles Seized in New York

The Department of Homeland Security and their Border Enforcement Task Force (BEST), seized 249 stolen luxury cars worth more than $16 million in New York. Seven people were charged with conspiring to export the cars to various countries in West Africa.

To view more episodes of Fraud Files click here.

Police Bust International Luxury Carjacking Ring

Authorities in New Jersey charged 21 people in connection with an international carjacking and stolen car trafficking ring that allegedly involved stealing luxury cars and shipping them across the country and to West Africa. The 16-month long investigation called Operation 17 Corridor recovered just over 90 stolen vehicles.

“The criminals in this ring scouted golf courses, pricey restaurants, malls and suburban driveways to find the specific luxury cars they coveted, working in teams to commit armed carjackings and other thefts,” stated New Jersey Attorney General John J. Hoffman. “While fortunately we have not had anyone shot or murdered during a carjacking in this case, we’ve seen in other cases how quickly things can turn deadly when carjackers carry out the type of armed ambushes this ring committed. We’ve completely dismantled this dangerous network and charged its members with first-degree crimes.”

Over $4 million in stolen vehicles were taken from communities in North and Central Jersey and shipped to West Africa. Members of the theft crew stored the vehicles at locations including short-term airport parking garages, housing complexes, warehouses and shipping containers to make sure tracking devices would not lead law enforcement to the ring.

The stolen vehicles were then sold domestically as well as shipped internationally to Ghana, Nigeria, Guinea, and Gambia, where vehicles of these types sell for prices in excess of three times the market value in the United States.

To view more episodes of Fraud Files click here.

Fraud Files: Bogus Body Shop

In this episode of Fraud Files we focus on the owner and the manager of a body shop in Hialeah, Florida. They were arrested and charged with insurance fraud and grand theft following a three year investigation.

To view more episodes of Fraud Files click here.

Downward Trend in Motorcycle Thefts Continues

ladro di motoDES PLAINES, Ill., Oct. 28, 2015 — The National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) today released a report on motorcycle thefts in the United States for 2014. A total of 42,856 motorcycles were reported stolen in 2014 compared with 45,367 reported stolen in 2013—a decrease of six percent.

This is welcome news for motorcycle owners since the drop comes at a time when overall motorcycle sales in 2014 increased by four percent over their 2013 total1.

The top 10 states with the most reported motorcycles thefts in 2014 were California (6,355), Florida (3,981), Texas (3,274), South Carolina (2,146), North Carolina (2,117), New York (1,544), Indiana (1,508), Nevada (1,488), Georgia (1,455) and Maryland (1,127).

The top 10 cities for motorcycle thefts in 2014 were Las Vegas (1,163), New York (1,034), San Diego (650), Miami (541), San Francisco (516), San Antonio (447), Houston (439), Indianapolis (422), Los Angeles (397) and Albuquerque, N.M. (390).

The top 10 most stolen motorcycles in 2014 by manufacturer were American Honda Motor Co., Inc. (8,045), Yamaha Motor Corporation (6,728), American Suzuki Motor Corporation (5,987), Kawasaki Motors Corp., U.S.A. (4,497), Harley Davidson, Inc. (4,146), Taotao Group Co. Ltd (1,730), Astronautical Bashan (535), Jonway Group Co., Ltd. (503), KTM Sportmotorcycle AG (489) and Genuine Cycle (449).

The most motorcycle thefts occurred in August (4,965) and the fewest in February (1,978) reflecting a weather-influenced pattern that is consistent with previous years.

The complete report is available here or by pasting /File%20Library/Public%20Affairs/2014-Motorcycle-ForeCAST-Report-Public.pdf into your browser.

1. As reported by the Motorcycle Industry Council

Anyone with information concerning insurance fraud or vehicle theft can report it anonymously by calling toll-free 800-TEL-NICB (800-835-6422), texting keyword “fraud” to TIP411 (847411) or submitting a form on our website. Or, download the NICB Fraud Tips app on your iPhone or Android device.

NICB Agents Process Soaked Vehicles From South Carolina Floods

DES PLAINES, Ill. – As South Carolina struggles to recover from record-breaking rainfall and flooding, the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) is working with law enforcement agencies, insurance and car rental companies to identify and catalog water-damaged vehicles and keep them from being resold to unsuspecting consumers.

A flooded vehicle sits abandoned near Columbia, SC

A flooded vehicle sits abandoned near Columbia, SC

Authorities estimate that thousands of vehicles may have been flooded.

“Unfortunately, natural disasters bring out dishonest salvage dealers who don’t tell you that the vehicles they’re selling are heavily water-damaged,” said NICB President and CEO Joe Wehrle.

“Consumers need to know that these vehicles may appear advertised for sale without any indication that they were affected by the flooding. As always, buyers should be careful when considering a used vehicle purchase in the weeks and months following a disaster like this.”

NICB agents are already working with law enforcement and member companies to identify these damaged vehicles and to help keep would-be buyers from becoming fraud victims.

A History of Helping When Disaster Strikes

In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina 10 years ago, NICB agents worked side by side with law enforcement officials to inspect thousands of vehicles damaged by flood waters. As a result of that unprecedented effort, NICB established a first-of-its-kind consumer protection service known today as VINCheckSM. It allows car buyers to see whether a vehicle has ever been declared as “salvage” or a total loss by an NICB member that participates in VINCheck. Insurers representing about 88 percent of the personal auto insurance market provide their salvage data to the program. It also alerts users if a vehicle has been stolen and is still unrecovered. VINCheck is a free public service available at

NICB encourages those entities required by law to report flood-damaged vehicles to the National Motor Vehicle Title Information System (NMVTIS) which currently includes information on 96 percent of all U.S. vehicles. Currently, 44 states report data to the system which contains approximately 20 million salvage or total loss records.

Potential for Fraud

In the weeks ahead, consumers should be on the lookout for other post-flood fraud schemes such as towing companies that try to pressure them into using their service and then charge exorbitant towing and storage fees. In addition, homeowners in disaster areas should be alert to the potential for fraud by unscrupulous contractors and home repair businesses.

“Fraud is an unfortunate reality in post-disaster environments,” said Wehrle. “As the recovery in South Carolina gets underway, fraudsters are already scheming to converge on the affected areas in order to scam disaster victims out of their money while promising to do repairs. The last thing victims of disaster need is to be victimized again.”

Consumer Resources

  • For a free brochure with tips to avoid post-disaster fraud, click here.
  • For useful checklists, including how to spot flood and salvage vehicle scams and post-disaster contractor repair schemes, click here.
  • For free consumer access to the vehicle salvage records of participating NICB member insurance companies who collectively provide 88 percent of the auto insurance in force today, access NICB’s VINCheck.

NICB News: Fall 2015 – The Aftermath of the California Wildfires

In this edition of NICB News we feature the devastation of the wildfires in northern California, a look back at the 10 year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, the latest Hot Wheels report and more.

To view previous episodes of NICB News click here.

Heavy Equipment Thefts Increase Just Over 1% from 2013

DES PLAINES, Ill., Oct. 1, 2015 — The National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) today released a report on heavy equipment thefts in 2014. This report, co-produced with the National Equipment Register (NER), examines heavy equipment theft data submitted by law enforcement to the National Crime Information Center (NCIC) and profiles that data according to theft state, theft city, theft month, equipment manufacturer, equipment style (type) and year of manufacture. The report also examines heavy equipment recoveries in 2014 based on those same criteria.

In 2014, a total of 11,625 heavy equipment thefts were reported to law enforcement—an increase of 1.2 percent from the 11,486 reported in 2013.

Texas ranked number one in 2014 with 1,650 reported thefts. In second place was North Carolina with 918 thefts followed by Florida in third with 915 thefts. In fourth place was South Carolina with 660 thefts and Georgia is fifth with 647. The top five cities with the most thefts were Houston, Texas (201); Miami, Fla. (105); San Antonio, Texas (83); Oklahoma City, Okla. (83); and Las Vegas, Nev. (73).

See the full report here.

The three most stolen heavy equipment items in 2014 were:

  1. Mowers (riding or garden tractor: 5,051)
  2. Loaders (skid steer, wheeled: 1,907)
  3. Tractors (wheeled or tracked: 1,475)

Heavy equipment manufactured by John Deere was the number one theft target in 2014 followed in order by Kubota Tractor Corp., Bobcat, Caterpillar and Toro.

As for recoveries, only 23 percent of heavy equipment stolen in 2014 was found, making it a costly crime for insurance companies, equipment owners and rental agencies.

NICBHeavyEquipment“Having the support and cooperation of the manufacturers is critical to the efforts to combat this kind of theft,” said NICB President and CEO Joe Wehrle. “In an effort to increase the recovery rate, we encourage the manufacturers to share information and work with us to prevent theft and recover stolen equipment.”

NICB urges equipment owners to incorporate theft prevention strategies into their business practices and recommends the following theft prevention tips:

  • Install hidden fuel shut-off systems.
  • Remove fuses and circuit breakers when equipment is unattended.
  • Render equipment immobile or difficult to move after hours or on weekends by clustering it in a “wagon circle.” Place more easily transported items, such as generators and compressors, in the middle of the circle surrounded by larger pieces of equipment.
  • Maintain a photo archive and a specific list of the PIN and component part serial numbers of each piece of heavy equipment in a central location. Stamp or engrave equipment parts with identifying marks, numbers or corporate logos.
  • Use hydro locks to fix articulated equipment in a curved position, preventing it from traveling in a straight line.
  • Use sleeve locks to fix backhoe pads in an extended position, keeping wheels off the ground.



Fraud Files: A Family of Frauds

A dozen people have been indicted for their role in an alleged criminal racketeering scheme that targeted senior citizens in eight New Jersey counties and New York and also conducted phoney slip-and-falls to collect insurance money. The Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office has dismantled an alleged ring of scam artists, indicting the 12 individuals on 51 counts of racketeering and related crimes committed through the area.

To view more episodes of Fraud Files click here.