Vehicles stolen in St. Louis metro trafficked to Mexico

A 2015 Honda CRV that was stolen from a residence in Glendale was recovered 1,000 miles away in Laredo, Texas.
Published: Feb. 1, 2023 at 7:24 PM CST
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ST. LOUIS, Mo. (KMOV) - A 2015 Honda CRV that was stolen from a residence in Glendale was recovered 1,000 miles away in Laredo, Texas, where a transport driver attempted to cross the border into Mexico, according to Glendale police.

The vehicle was owned by Andrew Wendell, who said, “Certainly surprising how it could make it all the way down there.”

According to Capt. Bob Catlett with the Glendale Police Department, the Honda and a 2017 GMC Terrain were stolen from a home in the 200 block of Edwin Avenue on Oct. 25, 2022. He said the GMC was later recovered in the St. Louis area in December. But, he said, it wasn’t until Jan. 23 that the department learned the Honda had been discovered to be stolen by U.S. Customs and Border Protection at the border crossing in Texas.

According to Interpol, the international police agency, the problem of vehicles being stolen in wealthy countries and shipped to developing countries is a large worldwide problem known as stolen vehicle trafficking. The agency worked with police in 77 countries for a 2-week crackdown last May that resulted in 222 arrests and the recovery of more than 1,100 vehicles.

Catlett said the stolen Honda went on a long odyssey after being taken in Glendale. He said the thieves used a fictitious name and an address in the 5200 block of Maffitt to request and obtain a new title after claiming the previous one was lost. And then the SUV was sold to a wholesale auto dealer in Nebraska who sold the SUV to another wholesale dealer in Mexico, said Catlett. The Honda was determined to be stolen by border agents before it could enter Mexico.

News 4 has learned a Ford F-150 pickup that was stolen in St. Louis was recently recovered in Mexico. And a BMW stolen from a dealership in Manchester last year was recovered at a U.S. border crossing to Mexico.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection issued this statement about stolen cars being shipped to Mexico.

“Customs and Border Protection officers at Ports of Entry across the United States examine outbound travelers and cargo daily to ensure compliance with applicable U.S. laws. On occasions officers discover illicit products, undeclared currency and vehicles reported stole. These seized vehicles are turned over to local law enforcement for further investigate.”

The National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) said an analysis of crime data indicated an escalation of crime across the nation over the last few years. NICB said vehicle crime, carjackings, and catalytic converter thefts are all nearing record highs.

The agency said it has a longstanding relationship with the State Department and U.S. Consulate in Tijuana, where there’s an ongoing effort to recover stolen vehicles shipped to Mexico and return them to their owners.