May 4, 2022 4:00p
(WGTD)---Authorities have apparently busted up a Somers-based stolen car ring that specialized in stealing high-end vehicles from parking lots at Mitchell International Airport.
28-year-old Casha Griffin is facing seven counts, including money laundering, altering or removing a vehicle identification number and car theft.
Griffin appeared in Kenosha Court Wednesday where a bond was set at $100,000. Griffin's boyfriend is facing identical charges but has not been arrested. According to a criminal complaint, a priority U.S. passport was recently delivered to his apartment in Pleasant Prairie.
According to a detective from the Milwaukee County Sheriff's Dept., 20 vehicles in the last year have been stolen from the airport, with many of them tracked by their onboard GPS devices to an area near Green Bay Rd. and 12th St.
The case began to unravel when a Kenosha County Sheriff's Deputy was dispatched in late March to the Hawthorn Apartments at that intersection to investigate a report of a parked, new Dodge Ram truck with a broken window. A caller provided the license plate number of a Ford Transit Van that had been parked alongside the truck.
The van--believed to have been stolen from U-Haul-- was located in the area and the driver identified. He said he'd been visiting his girlfriend--the defendant Griffin--who lived in the apartment complex.
One thing led to another, and Griffin's apartment was searched, leading to the discovery of "hundreds of thousands of dollars" of designer clothes, shoes and jewelry. Also recovered...electronic devices that are used to steal vehicles by programming blank key fobs, several blank fobs, a counterfeit title and a stack of cash.
A storage locker that was searched yielded guns, electronic equipment and an auto windshield removal saw and windshield repair tools. The complaint says such tools are used to remove windshields so VIN plates can be accessed and removed, and replaced with fake ones.
A Kenosha County Sheriff's Dept. detective traced a receipt and learned that the boyfriend has purchased windshields for Dodge Hellcats, Dodge Challengers and Jeep Trackhawks.
In addition, state agents working with the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network uncovered nearly $300,000 in suspicious cash deposits tied to the boyfriend, and over $80,000 in suspicious activity in Griffin's account.