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Memphis Police Department's Scorpion Unit has made 111 auto theft arrests and recovered 78 stolen cars since October

The unit was launched to stop various crimes, especially auto thefts, across the city of Memphis.

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The Memphis Police Department's Scorpion Unit has recovered 78 stolen vehicles and made 111 auto theft arrests since it launched on October 11.

The unit was created to stop a number of crimes, but especially auto thefts. Major Willie Mathena with the unit said there aren't many crimes that don't involve a car. 

"Auto thefts is a crime nationwide, it's just not unique to Memphis," Mathena said. "Vehicles are stolen nationally every 33 seconds, so since the Scorpion Unit started, the unit has made numerous arrests of suspects with stolen vehicles."

Through these auto theft arrests, investigators have made additional ones for carjackings, weapons, assaults, burglaries, and drugs. 

MPD has worked closely with the community to find these stolen vehicles. Through working with law enforcement in surrounding states, MPD has also been able to recover stolen vehicles from Memphis in other states. 

"We plan on using enhanced enforcement," Mathena said. "We're out in the field with the citizens in our community looking for stolen vehicle indicators, also using confidential human sources, resources, and anonymous citizens complaints to assist with the recovery of these vehicles to locate and identify crimes such as chop shops and other crimes." 

Mathena said the unit also communicates with law enforcement in surrounding municipalities once arrests are made to see if there could be a link to the stolen vehicles. 

"One of the reasons why the unit has been successful is we share information. We share information with other agencies," Mathena said. "We work closely with the surrounding agencies - Bartlett, Collierville, Southaven, Germantown. We speak with these different units, different agencies each and every single day. Once arrests are made we can determine if a criminal enterprise is behind the rest of the auto thefts." 

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