County-wide Effort to Combat Auto Theft – Welcome to the City of Fort Worth
Posted on 03 November 2021
Warning to Auto Thieves: Do not steal vehicles in Tarrant County.
Law enforcement here has a new way to tackle auto crime. Zane Reid, assistant prosecutor for the Tarrant County Criminal District, has been appointed to work with the Tarrant Regional Auto Crimes Task Force and only prosecute auto theft cases. He is the first Texas attorney appointed to work solely with an auto crime task force.
The Fort Worth Police Department is one of several law enforcement entities in the county that work with the Tarrant Regional Motor Crime Task Force.
“We are dealing with a very, very evolving area of auto crime,” said Bryan Sudan, commander of the Tarrant regional auto crime task force. “Older cars, the ones you can steal mechanically, get old. We are seeing professional thieves using alternative methods to steal cars. We are now seeing very organized groups using sophisticated methods to steal vehicles. We need more coordination with the pursuit of these cases. “
In the past, car theft cases were referred to the district attorney’s office and assigned to various prosecutors. Everything will now go to Reid, who can spot trends or see if there are multiple cases involving the same accused that should be consolidated.
“This will bring these crimes to light and help us better prevent them from happening,” Sudan said.
These cases total millions of dollars in losses due to theft and involve multiple agencies across the Metroplex. Coordination with all these entities and the public prosecutor’s office is key.
Reid, a Tarrant County district attorney since 2015, said he was excited to join the task force.
“My goal will be to provide greater consistency and availability to our law enforcement agencies to ensure successful prosecutions,” he said. “The hope is to increase the prosecution rate and the strength of sentences for motor vehicle offenses in and around Tarrant County.”
Auto crimes have evolved as new car technology has prompted thieves to refine the way they steal them. They are now using fake IDs to buy cars, steal auto parts like catalytic converters, and reprogram remote controls to steal vehicles.
In Tarrant County, motor vehicle thefts increased to 6,367 in 2020 from 5,895 in 2019. Motor vehicle burglaries increased to 14,288 in 2020 from 13,884 in 2019. And crime related to the auto fraud reached 56 in 2020, up from 52 in 2019, according to task force statistics.
“These are not petty thefts,” Tarrant County Criminal District Attorney Sharen Wilson said. “With the increase in vehicle prices, these thefts have a major impact on individuals and businesses. We must do everything we can to stop these thefts.
The Tarrant Regional Auto Crimes Task Force began in 1993 to tackle motor vehicle theft. It is made up of investigators from the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles, Tarrant County Sheriff’s Office, Parker County Sheriff’s Office, National Insurance Crime Bureau, and Arlington, Fort Worth, Hurst Police Services, Haltom City and Euless.
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