Preacher arrested in auto theft ring investigation

Authorities are accusing Hason "Tory" Fields of Union Baptist Church downtown of being the ringleader of an auto theft ring. He's been charged with four counts of possession of a stolen vehicle, but is now out on bail. Fields says he's innocent and has never had anything to do with stealing cars.

From ABC News 4:

A tip sent investigators to who they say could be the heart of the operation. 34-year-old Hason Fields. He's charged with the possession of four stolen vehicles, plus police say they found numerous duplicate vehicle titles inside his Goose Creek home.

"I feel as though I'm a victim just like everybody else was," said suspect Hason "Tory" Fields. "I have never stolen a car in my life. I bought a car, that's what I did. What happened behind that part, I ain't got nothing to do with that."

The scheme police say, started with (VIN) numbers that came from several wrecked vehicles sitting in salvage yards. They believe Fields and possibly several others obtained those numbers online, took them to the Department of Motor Vehicles and received duplicate titles.

And, like a Raymond Chandler novel, there's even a blonde involved, as The Post and Courier reports:

A 30-something blonde and others distracted dealership employees, detectives said, so they could switch fake keys for the real ones and have somebody drive off with the vehicles later.


To date, authorities have recovered 23 stolen vehicles valued at more than $600,000, Forsythe said, and they think at least 10 others disappeared as part of the same scheme. The vehicles ranged from full-size pickups to sedans and sports cars stolen locally and throughout the Palmetto State, as well as North Carolina and Georgia. Most were sold on the side of the road for cash.

And they still haven't found the blonde ...

The Post and Courier has a list of some of the recovered vehicles, as well as a very in-depth story about the whole investigation. It's got to be a pretty good scheme, when even the cops are complimenting you.

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