Car Thieves Devastated By False Information On Web During Massive Heist Attempt
CALIFORNIA - The clock was ticking for Memphis Raines and his crew of car thieves. There was a list of 50 cars they had to acquire for an upset and sadistic gangster with a carpentry hobby by the name of Raymond Calitri. With very little time, they assigned the cars names and began scouring social media posts & dealership ads.
Barbara the 1962 Aston Martin DB1 showed up on a social media account. A man was pictured next to the British classic car with the comment "check out my new ride." The team did their research on the man, found his address, and sent one of the crew to jack the car, only to find out that man didn't own it. The picture was taken at a British car show; the dude just liked the car.
Tanya the 1997 Porsche 911 was posted for sale on a social media marketplace site. They messaged back and forth with the seller, who was selling it cheap. The idea was to arrange a test drive and to just drive off with it. It ended up being a fake car sale scam, which wasted their time when the false seller refused to meet. He did drop the offer by $10,000 if they agreed to send the wire immediately though.
Cathy the 2000 Toyota Land Cruiser, Rose the 1987 Ferrari Testarosta, and Kimberly the 1999 Lincoln Navigator all ended up being scams too. The crew was getting frustrated and concerned about the fast-approaching deadline. The group then turned to a few vehicles that were easier to obtain; or so they thought.
They believed they would have an easier time with Daria the 2022 Dodge Ram. Unfortunately, a chip shortage meant that the dealerships didn't have many in stock. After calling five local dealerships, they finally found one. Hoping to use a fake ID to obtain a test drive, one of the thieves went into the building in a disguise. A salesman greeted him twenty minutes later after chatting with other dealers who were just standing around, only to reveal that the last truck had been sold two minutes prior. The dealership had run out of vehicles.
"I can put your name down for next year," the sales guy said. The would-be thief left empty handed.
Another dealership did a bait and switch on the group. Hoping to score Nelva the Nissan GT-R that was listed for sale, they found a car dealer who kept trying to talk them into a base model Nissan Versa. They never even saw a GT-R. Both the new and used car market looked hopeless at this point, even for criminals attempting to steal the rides.
Late in the night the team had their first success. One of the ads on the internet proved to be true. Gertrude the Chevy Citation came into Memphis' shop. Why Calitri wanted this car, they couldn’t figure out, but it was one of the 50.
Then there was Eleanor, the elusive Shelby Mustang GT500. This one had a special but twisted history with Memphis. He took charge on obtaining this car. He was careful in his communication with the seller, his would be victim. It didn't matter though...it was another scam.
Memphis and his crew worked tirelessly through the night sifting through online leads. In the end the group was able to steal five cars and a golf cart that was not even on the list. Car theft wasn't like what it used to be for the team. It was hardly the 50 cars promised to Calitri. And the consequences of this were disastrous.
RIP Kip Raines.