A string of new Ford F-150s stolen directly from holding lots in recent months has triggered a cascade of misfortune for customers, dealers, title companies and others across the western United States, the Free Press has learned. 

The problems center on 14 such vehicles stolen late last year in metro Detroit, but a trove of police documents and court records, along with a private investigator, suggest the overall scheme could be bigger, ensnaring unwitting victims and prompting criminal probes and lawsuits.

It all began when an estimated $1 million in pickup trucks were stolen off lots from metro Detroit between mid-October and mid-December. How the trucks disappeared remains a mystery.

Thefts of Ford F-150s, like the 2023 model seen here, have ensnared unwitting victims and prompted criminal probes and lawsuits in several states.

However, police reports document a lack of surveillance video and vehicles parked with keys inside. Police in at least two states have learned that Ford or its partners running the lots have failed to report the vehicles stolen for weeks, months or ever.

The pickups were driven off the lots to the Phoenix metro area to be sold to unsuspecting buyers, according to fuel and toll receipts provided to the Free Press. Pickup odometers reflected miles traveled between Michigan and Arizona, according to police and court records.

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