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In the summer of 1997, after authorities became weary of the proliferation of organized auto theft rings in south Florida, a multi-agency task force was formed to deal with the problem. Fourteen local, state and federal law enforcement agencies teamed up to form the Palm Beach County Auto Theft Task Force (PBCATTF) and began a counter-assault.
A recent PBCATTF raid netted Steve McNeil and Jesse McNeil (father and son), both of Boca Raton, and Greg Langman of Coral Springs. The three men are believed to be the ringleaders in what is described as the largest Corvette chop-shop to be taken down in US history. Over $1 million in parts were seized and three Corvettes were recovered “pre-chop.”
Corvettes of Boca was a speciality parts store servicing customers as far away as South Africa. Parts were sold by mail order and the ringleaders were able to generate large profits by simply “stealing to order.” Corvettes of Boca is believed to be responsible for the dismantling of over 200 Corvettes since 1994. In some cases, owners behind in their payments would drop the cars off – keys in the ignition – at the shop and then report the car stolen to collect the insurance proceeds. When additional cars were needed, authorities allege that the McNeils and Langman would either steal vehicles themselves or hire professional car thieves to bring in the autos. The autos were then dismantled in less than 24 hours.
The three men were charged with dealing in stolen property, operating a chop-shop and grand theft auto.
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