North Columbus car dealer victim of a coordinated heist, seven cars stolen from lot

COLUMBUS, OH – A North Columbus car dealer came to work to find seven cars had been stolen from his lot back in July and Columbus Police are just reporting the crime to the media this week.

Hicham Benhammou, the owner of Cleveland Avenue Autoworks shared security camera footage showing a group of teens break into his shop, remove the keys and drive off with seven vehicles including a Porsche. Police say they are searching for the five suspects, but in a city wrought by daily gun crime and violence, it’s unsure how much time they will be able to spend on this case.

Columbus has become America’s real-life game of Grand Theft Auto as murders skyrocket, people are shot in their cars while driving or just walking in their neighborhood and now police say over 5,000 cars have been stolen in 2021.

“We’ve recognized at the Columbus Division of Police that property crimes are just as important as crimes against people,” said Sgt. James Fuqua in an interview with ABC News. “You will see a concerted effort moving forward from the division for us to highlight, not only just other types of crimes but property crimes,”

“On 07/30/2021 at approximately10:30am at least 5 suspects kicked open the business front door stealing car keys, and then stole 8 vehicles off his lot. Photos are attached any assistance on I.D. suspects please contact Detective Beard 614-645-2091 or email bbeard@columbuspolice.org, Central Ohio Crime Stoppers at 614-461-TIPS(8477),” the department said in a statement on social media earlier this week.

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