By on February 4, 2017

Front three-quarter view of 2017 Jaguar F-PACE in Aspen, Colorado, Image: © 2016 Mark Stevenson/The Truth About Cars

It wasn’t exactly the Great Train Robbery, but it was daring and ballsy nonetheless. And quite expensive for the victim — in this case, quintessential British automaker Jaguar Land Rover.

The company has egg on its face and no shortage of missing engines after thieves made off with a parked trailer full of high-end motors from the Solihull, UK assembly plant on Tuesday night. Two hours later, they returned for more.

According to the Birmingham Mail, the thieves entered the plant’s grounds in a stolen truck, obtained proper paperwork, and hooked up to the parked trailer. Six minutes later, under full view of security cameras, the rig drove out of the security-manned gate and into the night.

Of course, one tractor trailer full of Jaguar Land Rover engines only gets you so far in this world, so the thieves made a return pass. Two hours after the initial robbery, the process was repeated again. A second trailer full of engines vanished the same way as the first, bringing the dollar value of the heist to three million pounds ($3.75 million).

“They just hooked up the trailers,” a source told the Mail. “They were in and out in just six minutes with the first theft. The whole place is in uproar about it.”

The trailers have since been recovered, sans engines.

JLR, not surprisingly, wants the engines back, and is willing to sweeten the pot for any Good Samaritan who comes forward with information.

“A reward is on offer to anyone who has information which leads to the successful recovery of these engines,” stated the automaker. Whether that reward is cold hard cash or an attractive lease on a Jaguar XE, we don’t know.

[Image: © 2016 Mark Stevenson/The Truth About Cars]

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22 Comments on “Brits Continue Tradition of High-cost Heists, Rob Jaguar Land Rover Plant Twice...”

  • avatar

    Disposing of these wouldn’t be quite as easy as peddling small block Chevys on eBay, right? Wonder where these wind up….

  • avatar

    Just goes to prove the old truism: K.I.S.S. Keep it Simple and Stupid.

  • avatar

    I once remember a 53 footer loaded with wheels disappearing . I wonder what the thieves thought when they realized they were all steeliys .

    • 0 avatar

      ” I wonder what the thieves thought when they realized they were all steeliys .”

      — “Hey, Great! Twenty tons of recycled metal! That should be good for a hundred dollars or so!”

  • avatar

    Definitely someone had inside info, and or, inside help.

  • avatar

    I LOVE British crime capers.

    If anyone here has not seen ‘Sexy Beast, you NEED to get and watch it ASAP. 10/10

  • avatar

    Ha Birmingham.. England’s Buffalo on a grander scale. Usually its the other way…

    Wild throw but if someone has the insurance write-offs from last year’s capsized freighter – presto!

  • avatar

    Back in 80’s I can’t count the numbers of times , the line would start on Monday morning only to find someone had absconded with a fully dressed , sequenced engine , right off the motor line.

  • avatar

    How would they sell them? Do they have VIN stamps at this point or other identifiers such as serial number or batch number? Without a easy way to sell them, the worth might be significantly less.

  • avatar

    Back in the 1970s, some Cadillac employees and drivers for trash hauling companies were arrested for a scheme where drivetrains, 500 CI engines and Hydramatic transmissions already hooked together, were stashed in garbage dumpsters at the Clark Street plant. It’s possible that Johnny Cash’s song One Piece At A Time was based on that story.

    Around that time I spent a summer working for a company that owned a scrap yard in Detroit. One day they pulled us out of the conveyor shop (they also sold new and recycled conveyor equipment) to climb up into an industrial trash truck and unload big heavy copper cables. They were about 3 feet long, about 3 inches in diameter and had one inch thich copper terminals on the ends. Copper at the time was about a buck a pound. Some of the cables were trashed but some still had their “repaired” tags from the Chrysler maintainance shop.

    After my shift, I was hanging out in the weighing shed with my mom’s cousin, who was in charge of the scale. From where I stood I could see the illuminated reading on the scale (this was long before digital) and was surprised that my cousin wrote up a weight greater than the scale reading, which the garbage hauler couldn’t see from his position. I carpooled with my cousin and on the way home asked him about it and he said that he’d “overcorrected” the scale with a magnet, that the guy would never have believed that weight, so he adjusted it.

    As it was explained to me, in the scrap business you get a fair weight or a good price, but you’re going to get the same cash no matter what.

    When I expressed concern about the ethics of the situation, he told me that some stuff is too hot to go near. He said that once, a truck driver picking up a load of nickel (which is very valuable) at a nearby plant somehow got it released without all the paperwork so he decided to try and fence it at the nearest scrap yard. They turned him down and said within seconds of his leaving he was busted.

    • 0 avatar

      I think Australia has this beat (of course being a country built by convicts).

      The old Holden plant saw hundreds of 6.0 litre LSX V8s, Tremec manuals, GM 6L60 automatics disappear over years… until a whistle blower sent the Excel sheets with serial numbers to the police.

      I have to ask you guys… visualise in your head tens hundreds of motors and gearboxes and think about how much space that takes.

      Still, who doesnt have a pressing need for a 400hp V8 and transmissions?

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    What a fantastic story. Maybe they’ll end up powering some very nice boats.

  • avatar

    “quintessential British automaker Jaguar Land Rover”

    That’s not true – Jaguar Land Rover is an INDIAN automaker.

  • avatar

    From what I have seen as a truck driver during my many deliveries to a certain unnamed North German carmaker with two letters, this is not trivial to pull off, but once you know where the trailers would be parked, not that hard either.

    The hardest part would be to get onto the factory premises in the first place: they’ll only let you in if you have a) valid freight certificates where they are the receiver (and most of these will be unloaded at surrounding logistics centers anyway, so it would have to be something quite specific too), or b) if they ordered an empty truck to be loaded by them (some of which include trailer switching anyway). The latter would be my guess, as once you’re familiar with the operation, you can just say you’re from forwarder so-and-so, here to get the such-and-such trailer, and even if the real truck arrives shortly after, it would probably be dismissed as a mix-up at the forwarders’ or anyway take much, much longer than a couple of minutes to clear up and cause an investigation as to what idiot registered with the wrong credentials there.

    Once you are in, there is little to stop you from hitching up to the wrong trailer and going back out, either pretending to have switched trailers as you were meant to or to have been called off by your dispo to do something else. Trailer numbers are not checked, and nor are trailer contents, on the way out. (That last sentence applies not to every factory obviously, but to those of the German carmaker, it does.)

    So definitely an inside job, but you wouldn’t need to be high up in a forwarding company dealing with them to pull it off, methinks.

  • avatar

    Heh .
    The City decided to stock mounted & ready to go new tires on Budd wheels in the S.F.Valley as we did the most paving anywhere in The City, to save time .
    So, one Monday it seems someone cut the perimeter fence (a rail line went past it) vertically and rolled away an entire truck load of new mounted tires .
    Here’s the rub :
    A. the vertical hole wasn’t as wide as the tires were .
    B. when you roll a tire through a chain link fence, it makes the bottom of the hole square .
    C. the hole’s bottom was 2′ off the ground and anyone who’s ever busted 22″ big rig tires & wheels will tell you : you don’t lift 100 mounted tires 2′ no matter what .
    D. the fence was 2-1/2′ off the ground and a sharp uphill in pea gravel on the other side yet no foot prints nor marks in the gravel .
    E. almost everyone there had keys to the gate, most notably the worst thieves I’d even seen (why I flatly refused to ever have keys in spite of always being the first to arrive for duty for 20 + years).
    I waited until the expected hubbub died down and the L.A.P.D. took their report and left, then asked the Shop Supervisors about all these little details .
    ‘shaddap Nate ~ get back to work’ .
    So, I did .

    Clearly they knew who was guilty but they didn’t care .
    Same here : it was an inside job, have no doubt .

  • avatar

    With modern trailer tracking devices the whole event could have been video recorded and tracked. These tracking devices are very difficult to disable. Time will tell whether this is the case for this robbery.

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