WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. — UPDATE: Winston-Salem police said they found seven children involved in a $1 million car heist on Thursday. Four of those children were taken into custody. The three other children had minor charges that did not warrant an arrest, but police said they will likely face other penalties.
On Wednesday, police said 19 children, ages nine to 16, had stolen $1 million worth of cars from 18 car dealerships in the Winston-Salem area since March 17.
The Department of Public Safety is working with Winston-Salem police to determine the other 12 kids involved. Charges range from felonies to misdemeanors.
DPS is also investigating each case to determine appropriate consequences, which could include penalties against the children's parents. Officials said parental responsibility could mean fines, civil penalties, or jail time if they do not cooperate with the court.
Nineteen children were involved in the heist. Police said DPS does not have a record in its system of the other 12 kids involved.
PREVIOUS: The Winston-Salem Police Department is investigating after more than $1 million worth of cars were stolen from 18 car dealerships in the area since March 17. Two dealerships were targeted in Kernersville at that same time, detectives said.
Many of the dealerships were hit more than once and 46 vehicles were reported stolen in Winston-Salem. All but six of the vehicles were found in the $1,138,718 heists.
Detectives said 19 children ages 9 to 16 were involved in the thefts. Detectives said they have tried and been denied custody orders from the Forsyth County Department of Juvenile Justice for the kids involved.
Stewart Binns, 19, was taken into custody in connection with the crimes on March 25 for possession of a stolen motor vehicle. He is being held at the Forsyth County Detention Center.
The thefts remain under investigation.
The Winston-Salem auto dealerships targeted in this crime spree were:
- Flow Honda located at 2600 Peters Creek Parkway Winston-Salem, NC
- Flow Lexus located at 801 Jonestown Road Winston-Salem, NC
- Enterprise Rentals located at 3080 University Parkway Winston-Salem, NC
- Parkway Ford located at 3150 University Parkway Winston-Salem, NC
- Flow Audi located at 465 Silas Creek Parkway Winston-Salem, NC
- Modern Infinity located at 1500 Peters Creek Parkway Winston-Salem, NC
- Bob King Kia located at 1725 Link Road Winston-Salem, NC
- Modern Toyota located at 3178 Peters Creek Parkway Winston-Salem, NC
- Volvo located at 701 Peters Creek Parkway Winston-Salem, NC
Detectives are working with local dealerships to better secure their facilities and to take steps to prevent thieves from getting vehicles' keys if they break into the dealerships.
Anyone with information about the dealership break-ins is asked to contact the Winston-Salem Police Department at (336) 773-7700 or CrimeStoppers at (336) 727-2800.