CHEVY CHASE, Md. -- With the declining economy comes a rise in people behind in car payments faking thefts of their cars to collect insurance.
In many area jurisdictions, auto thefts are down except for false auto theft. Nationally, false auto thefts are up 12 percent. In the D.C. area, that number is 20 percent. And higher theft rates lead to higher insurance rates.
“It costs about $208,000 every single day … in funds that are paid out by insurance companies that we pay our insurance premiums to,” said Judge C. Philip Nichols, who has been addressing auto thefts in Prince George’s County for several years.
Auto theft was addressed at a regional summit in Chevy Chase Wednesday.
In many cases of false auto theft, vehicles are burned in remote locations and not found for months. Or the culprit might drive the vehicle into a body of water or simply hide it.