CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. -- Headquarters for Chesterfield County police and Virginia State Police are both within a mile from car dealerships on Midlothian Turnpike that have seen more than ten cars disappear over the course of a few weeks.
Haley Toyota, VA Cars, 60 West Auto, and Drive Time are all part of the so-called “Midlothian Motor Mile” that's taken a beating at the hands of thieves in recent weeks.
"Up and down the strip, it's unfortunate what's going on," said John Ashikis, who owns a nearby shop that sells rims.
It’s the buzz that has business owners talking about stolen cars.
At the end of July, a minivan was used as a battering ram to crash through a gate, and a couple of cars from Haley Toyota were swiped. Managers said the thieves returned for a second round earlier this week.
A manager at 60 West Auto said someone tried to steal a Lexus off their lot, but got spooked by an alarm. He believes the thieves have key readers to make duplicate keys.
A local locksmith said that's unlikely though. "The odds of making a chip in a key to match another are about 1 in 14 trillion,” said John Dietrich, of Riverside Locksmith. “Keys are coded like a fingerprint."
Drive Time employees told CBS 6, a customer returning from a test drive left a car running out back and someone stole it. That car was recovered down the street aided by the fact that all of their rides have GPS tracking.
In all, business owners said almost a dozen cars have been stolen along that mile-long stretch. While some call it a crime of opportunity, others think the thieves are experienced.
"It seems like these guys have a special skill,” said Ashikis. “It's alarming, to be honest with you."
Business owners said these crimes are happening in the early morning hours and they've asked police to increase roaming patrols in the area.