For 10 Years, Car Theft Ring Targeted U. of Tennessee Football Game Crowds

September 22, 2009

Federal authorities say two dozen people arrested earlier this year were part of a sophisticated car theft ring that targeted vehicles at University of Tennessee football home games.

Unsealed federal documents examined by the Knoxville News Sentinel say members used an elaborate code to communicate with each other.

Going to UT football games to steal cars was called “tailgating.”

Federal authorities pursued the group for 10 years, and finally secured indictments against them in June using federal racketeering laws that were created to pursue organized crime groups like the Mafia.

Most of the 23 are from Cocke County. Authorities say the ring also smuggled illegal drugs.

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