Utah Motor Vehicle Enforcement investigators are looking for a man with an unusual tattoo who they believe has been part of a well-run scam involving stolen vehicles.
Over the past several weeks, car dealerships in St. George and Cedar City have bought high-end vehicles from a man with a tattoo of the Cadillac logo on the back of his hand. In one incident the man traded in a four-door Dodge truck to a dealership for a less expensive car and cash. In another incident, he used a Chevy Avalanche to make a deal, said Kent Jorgensen, with MVED.
It was only after the transaction was made that a dealer discovered the vehicle identification number on the vehicle was false, he said. Soon after, it was discovered the registrations and titles the man used were also fake.
The VIN on the vehicle the dealership purchased came back to a car that had been in an accident, Jorgensen said. The car that the dealer just purchased, however, did not appear to have ever been in an accident.
Investigators believe the illegal operation involves high-end cars being stolen out of Arizona and New Mexico and a fraudulent 17-character VIN number placed in each one.
"It's a very professional job of changing the serial numbers. We've seen it before. We can tell the pros from the amateurs," Jorgensen said.
The man also is presenting the dealerships with false titles. Investigators were looking Friday into whether those titles may be linked to a case several years ago in which a supply of blank title forms was stolen from a DMV in New Mexico, Jorgensen said.
The man, or men, law enforcers are looking for obviously have a good knowledge of cars, he said.
The person with the Cadillac emblem on the back of his left hand was recently captured on a bank surveillance video cashing a $7,000 check given to him by one of the dealerships, said MVED spokesman Charlie Roberts.Anyone with information on the suspect or the scheme can call the Motor Vehicle Enforcement Division at 297-2617, or 435-586-2505 in southern Utah.