Grand theft charges have been filed against a man who allegedly took vehicle identification numbers from junked cars, fastened them to 29 stolen sports cars, then sold the cars to a Van Nuys car dealer, the California Highway Patrol said Tuesday.
John Riley Dean, 28, of Los Angeles also was charged with receiving stolen property, culminating a four-month investigation, the CHP said. Dean is being held in County Jail in lieu of $127,500 bail.
The scheme may wind up victimizing the people who purchased the cars between November, 1985, and March, 1986, from M & A Auto Sales of Van Nuys, the dealer that resold the cars without knowing they were stolen, CHP Sgt. Don Henderson said.
In most cases, the cars will become the property of the insurance companies for the original theft victims, meaning those who later purchased the vehicles will suffer the loss, he said.