Auburn auto dealer hit in plus-$100K theft

Stereos targeted, chains cut on gate

By: Gus Thomson, Reporter/Columnist
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Placer County Sheriff’s Office investigators check under the hood of a car on the Auburn Toyota lot. "Screenshot from Placer County Sheriff's Office video.


Stereo-navigation system units on new cars on the Auburn Toyota lot were the targets in a plus-$100,000 theft.

In all, 25 units were stolen in an overnight break-in last week at the Nevada Street-Grass Valley Highway sales lot.

According to the Placer County Sheriff’s Office, chains at a locked gate were cut to gain entry and steal the systems, as well as two batteries. Damage and theft losses are an estimated $108,000, the Sheriff’s Office said in a Facebook post.

Lee Rafferty, Auburn Toyota service manager, said that the family owned dealership is rallying after the thefts, with the support of an understanding community.

The cars themselves have little if any damage except for trim and dashboards that were forcibly removed to get at the stereo-navigation units and wire harnesses. A couple of cars were scuffed, Rafferty said.

The dashboards and harnesses will be replaced and new stereo units have been ordered for in-house installation, Rafferty said.

“This is people’s livelihoods,” he said. “It’s a real morale killer to have this happen — for salespeople, technicians and even people who may have wanted to buy a car in a particular color.”

In all, 27 new vehicles had units removed — with two stereos left at the scene of the crime and 25 missing.

A video released by the Sheriff’s Office shows deputies examining one vehicle to discover a battery gone, another car with it’s dash ripped off and stereo removed, and an investigator dusting the surface of an auto for prints.

No arrests had been reported. Rafferty said he was unaware of any other dealerships being hit by the same type of theft.