Car dealership association requests government help after Mecklenburg County break-ins

WBTV has covered at least three dealership break-ins over the past several weeks.
The North Carolina Automobile Dealers Association is asking for the state’s help after a series of break-ins in Charlotte.
Published: Mar. 15, 2023 at 5:02 PM EDT
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - The North Carolina Automobile Dealers Association (NCADA) is asking for the state government’s help after a series of dealership break-ins have been reported in Mecklenburg County in recent months.

According to a letter that the association sent out to dealerships last month, NCADA has reached out to N.C. Attorney General Josh Stein for assistance with the issue of break-ins and vehicle thefts.

Over the past several weeks, WBTV has reported on at least three car dealership break-ins.

In addition to requesting the help of legislators, the NCADA also sent out a list of tips to potentially prevent thefts, urging dealers to take “every measure reasonably possible” to protect their properties.

The full list of dealership safety tips can be found below:

  • Pay attention to keys. Use a sign-in/sign-out system to track all keys and fobs. That way, if there’s a problem, you’ll know who last had a given vehicle’s key. And, of course, lock those keys away during and after business hours. Just hanging them on a communal peg board opens the opportunity for someone to steal or copy them.
  • Park smartly. Park the most expensive models in with other vehicles. And be sure to turn all wheels sharply to one side to prevent tow-aways.
  • Use anti-theft devices. Though this isn’t an option for customer vehicles, it’s critical to secure your for-sale inventory. These might include beefed-up versions of the same devices that car owners use, like locks for wheels and steering wheels, alarms, and more.
  • Light things up. Make sure you have adequate lighting indoors and out, including motion-activated floodlights throughout your lots.
  • Minimize access. Rather than leaving the doors wide open to your lot, invest in fences, locks, and gates to control who can get to vehicles and more. An electric fence may be worth the investment to prevent thieves from sneaking up at night.
  • Be security-conscious day and night. While most dealerships think of nighttime security, they have fairly open access during the day. By pretending to be prospective customers, thieves often “case” a dealership to explore the setup and potential gains.
  • Consider hiring security guards. Having a person onsite is a strong option, albeit a pricier one.
  • Invest in automotive dealership live video surveillance. Compared to in-person guards, monitored wireless or PoE business security cameras with two-way audio offer robust protection and lower costs. Place cameras above entrances, inventory areas, and cash registers.

WBTV has reached out to AG Stein’s office for comment, but has not yet heard back.

Related: Video shows thieves steal cars from Cornelius dealership, police looking for suspects