Two people arrested in Portland metro area Tesla theft ring

A grand jury indicted an alleged member of a car theft ring Friday.

According to police and court documents, the suspect, Daniel McNett, 34, of Vancouver, Washington, said he had stolen more than 150 cars in the Portland metro area in the past few years alone.

McNett was arrested Saturday as part of a police vehicle theft operation.

He was driving a stolen Tesla with the GPS turned off, which Portland Officer Michael Terrett said was common among 10 Tesla thefts that occurred recently at dealerships in Multnomah and Washington counties, as well as Vancouver.

The thieves used “a pretty sophisticated method,” Terrett said. “Whereby McNett and others would disable the vehicle’s GPS devices, making it impossible to track.”

Police said they carried out several of these vehicle theft operations and found stolen cars, guns and other links to organized crime operations. They added that agencies in Multnomah, Washington and Vancouver counties have improved sharing information about stolen vehicles.

“Before, I think we would capture a person, or they were in the stolen vehicle, but now with all this collaboration and understanding, I think we’re able to get a better idea. We’re starting everything just figuring that out,” Terrett said.

McNett was arrested along with another suspected member of the car theft ring. This suspect has not yet been formally charged.

Portland police said their work is paying off. Compared to 2022, there has been a significant decrease in the number of reports of stolen vehicles.

From March to August, the number of stolen cars reported to police is lower this year compared to the same month in 2022, when Portland saw an increase in thefts.

Each month saw a drop of between 24% and 35% compared to last year.

The total number of car thefts in Portland so far this year, however, has surpassed years leading up to 2022.

According to PPB data, 5,844 stolen vehicles were reported between January and August of this year. This is down from 7,404 stolen vehicles reported during the same period in 2022.

However, fewer than 5,100 stolen cars were reported in the first eight months of 2021, and 4,037 in the same period of 2020.

Multnomah County Deputy Prosecutor Cody Linderholm said additional charges in organized crime rings could be filed soon.

“I’m from Colorado and Deion Sanders said, ‘We keep the receipts,’ right? But I think for Multnomah County we keep the indictments,” Linderholm said. “We’re coming for the people. I think we’re going to really shake things up next year.”

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