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THE GOOD FIGHT: Paul John, executive director of the Georgia Independent Automobile Dealers Association, discusses how the association fought against state legislation that would have raised the taxes on used-car purchases.

Dealers Must Take Step to Protect Their Lots

Dealers Must Take Step to Protect Their Lots Featured

Thieves have been targeting car dealers from Washington State to New York, stealing everything from high-end cars to wheels and even advertising displays.

They are breaking in, using scams and sometimes they are committing armed robberies.

As hard as the manufacturers work to make the cars harder to steal, criminal work just as hard to defeat those security tools.

And as much time as dealers spend trying to protect their businesses, criminals spend just as much time scheming to steal cars.

“People spend their lives trying to figure out how to rip you off,” said Joe Lescota.

Lescota currently workers as a trainer for the National Independent Automobile Dealers Association, but before entering the car business he worked as a police officer.

There are plenty of simple steps dealers can take to prevent theft.

One seems obvious, but is often a source of problems – lock the doors.

Dealers might think they have, but they should check to make sure when they leave at night. And that means checking all of them, especially the gate on SUVs and minivans.

Lescota said dealers should know every car they have in inventory and keep details on each unit, including pictures and detailed lists of equipment.

They should never leave a spot open on the lot after a sale, he said. This avoids any confusion that slows down the realization a theft occurred.

Dealers will have to spend money, but Lescota said the cost of higher insurance and lost sales when cars are stolen usually total more than the costs of prevention.

Lightening is one major area for investment in security. Lescota said this helps in both preventing thefts and catching the crooks if a crime does occur.

“I look at some of the video online of dealerships that suffer theft I think they could ID the thief with better lighting,” he said.

Of course, even well lit videos prove worthless if all they show is the top of a crook’s head. Lescota recommends using a professional to install surveillance equipment.

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