As Minneapolis passes 6,000 stolen cars this year, where did they go?

The city’s annual stolen car record is set to fall by the end of this weekend as many cars are resurfacing overseas.

According to the city’s Crime Dashboard (updated yesterday, Sept. 19), there have been 6,066 auto thefts, year-to-date. That works out to about one per hour, seven days per week.

The annual record of 6,138 for the city should be surpassed by the end of this weekend, with more than three months left to go in the year. The rate of stolen cars in Minneapolis is running about twice the three-year average.

Back in June, WCCO ran a story about what’s happening to all those stolen cars, many of which are never recovered. WCCO reports,

“Vehicles that are stolen also can be stripped for their parts. Vehicles can be shredded for their scrap metal. And vehicles are also going overseas. It’s an international industry,” said Tony Ofstead, director of the Minnesota Commerce Fraud Bureau.


“Minnesota with its riverways and railways is an industrial mecca, and you can put a vehicle onto a significant major transport in very short order and have it to the border and overseas in very little time,” Ofstead said.

Yesterday, the UK Daily Mail reported on this international phenomenon. The outlet reports on “foreign-used” autos allegedly for sale at a Nigerian used car dealership. And of course,

License plates from California, Minnesota, Texas and Florida can be seen in Instagram photos from the dealership.

The Daily Mail quotes an official with the Customs service as saying one in ten cars stolen in the U.S. and Canada may end up overseas.