Nearly $1 million loss reported after HSCO bust of auto theft ring

HARRIS COUNTY, Texas — Whose bought a car recently? If you bought it on social media sites like Craigslist or Offer Up, you may want to check the title. Your new ride might be “hotter” than you think.

The Harris County Sheriffs Office said it shut down an extensive auto theft operation, in which 29 cars were stolen in broad daylight. Right off dealer lots! The vehicles were then sold to unsuspecting shoppers.

Nine men and women, ranging from ages 20 to 48, are a total facing of 17 charges including organized crime, theft, money laundering and making false statements to obtain a credit report.

In all, deputies reported a loss of more than $780,000 for dealers and $229,000 for the buyers who were duped.

The next time you buy a car online, the sheriff's office suggests taking the car to the courthouse and doing the deal. You should also record the title and investigate the VIN number.

Basically, do you homework. It never hurts!