‘Messed up’: Car buyer out $75,000 after Ford Bronco stolen from Michigan factory

A Phoenix man says he is out thousands of dollars after the vehicle he purchased ended up coming back as a stolen SUV from a factory lot. (Source: Arizona's Family)
Published: Aug. 26, 2023 at 4:46 PM CDT
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PHOENIX (KPHO/Gray News) - A car buyer in Arizona says everything appeared legitimate when he was making a recent purchase.

All the paperwork was in order. The vehicle also appeared to have been driven from Alaska, with an Alaska license plate and a few thousand miles on the odometer.

But the Ford Bronco Raptor was one of dozens of new vehicles stolen from a factory lot in Detroit that were sold to unsuspecting buyers, KPHO reports.

“I messed up for sure,” said Nick, who didn’t want to disclose his last name.

According to Nick, he purchased the Bronco in March after seeing it listed on Craigslist.

He paid $75,000 for the vehicle after reportedly doing a Carfax check and taking the title to a third-party motor vehicle division location in Phoenix.

“If there were any issues, the VIN would have been flagged, I’m assuming, in the system that they have. But it wasn’t,” Nick said.

The sellers reportedly had switched the vehicle identification number and the new VIN didn’t appear to raise any red flags in the state’s auto title computer system.

Three weeks later, when Nick traded the Bronco for a larger pickup truck at a Phoenix-area dealership, an employee noticed a discrepancy with the VINs and called the police.

“The dealership called. The general manager called. He was really upset,” Nick said.

Police took custody of the Bronco in question, and Nick said he is now out the $75,000.

Other buyers in Arizona, New Mexico and Tennessee were also reportedly scammed with vehicles that were stolen.

Last week, police in Canton, Michigan, announced they arrested seven people in connection to the theft of Broncos from the Ford lot.

The Arizona Auditor General’s Office issued a report criticizing state oversight of third-party MVD offices.

Phoenix police said they are also investigating.