Car dealers, owners targeted in massive auto theft ring in Indiana

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HANCOCK COUNTY, Ind. - Prosecutors in Hancock County filed charges Thursday in a massive auto theft ring that could have ties across the Indianapolis metro area. By Friday, the two suspects were still on the loose, and between them, they face dozens of charges like forgery and conspiracy to commit auto theft.

Authorities issued a warrant for the arrest of Dorian Parker and Demetrius Hankerson.

"It's very shocking, and it bothers me that people can get by with these kinds of schemes," said Brad Stanley, with Stanley Chevrolet in McCordsville.

Stanley Chevrolet is one of the dealers that got hit by the pair, according to court documents. Investigators believe 32 duplicate keys were cut at the dealership without the owners' approval.

Indiana State Police believe Parker came to the dealership with forged registration documents, showing he was the owner of the vehicles. It is a plot the dealership called disturbing.

"I couldn't believe it, to actually come in with the documents, the driver's license, everything they need that qualifies them to get a new key made, to figure out how to forge documents. It was incredible," said Stanley.

Hancock County prosecutors also charged Demetrius Hankerson in the theft. Investigators said he made similar key requests at Stanley Chevrolet.

Between both suspects, court documents state they hit Hubler Chevrolet in Indianapolis, Penske Chevrolet in Indianapolis, Blossom Chevrolet in Indianapolis, and Champion Chevrolet in Avon.

"They obtained these VIN numbers of vehicles they were interested in, to create the documentation that leads the person to believe it was their valid car. And then they get the key, and they just know where the car is going to be at specific times, and then they can break in and steal it," said Marie Castetter, Chief Deputy Prosecutor of Hancock County.

Castetter said cars were stolen from unsuspecting victims right out of their own driveways and even at work.

Investigators believe the two got 55 duplicate keys in total. Hancock County Prosecutors said 17 cars were stolen so far, but charges could be filed in other counties.

"This encompasses more than one county, so overall you are going to find there are other charges that are probably going to forthcoming that would increase that number," said Castetter, "I refer to it as organized crime because of the details that went into the planning and preparation of this."

Investigators and witnesses said both suspects claimed to be in the auto auction business and used that as their reason for the key requests.

Brad Stanley said other dealers need to watch out, and as a result, his dealership is changing its policies.

"From this point forward we will put in an action plan, that will prevent someone from getting more than two vehicles' key in their family," he said.

Hankerson faces one count of corrupt business influence, four counts of forgery, and three counts of conspiracy to commit auto theft. Parker faces one count of corrupt business influence, 28 counts of forgery, and 14 counts of conspiracy to commit auto theft.

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