We know that times are tough when our elders are boosting high-dollar sports cars. Sure, we can understand that Glenn Beck and all the rest of the talking heads over at FOX News have our senior community terrified that our government is three steps away from socialism, illegal immigrants are silently invading our borders, and Social Security will soon be running dry, but is that any reason for them to rise up and steal our favorite American-built sports car, the Corvette?
We had to giggle a little bit when “career car thief,” Daniel C. Ott Sr., from Bath Township, Ohio was arrested for stealing no less than 14 new and used Corvettes. Amazingly enough, Ott estimated that he had stolen upwards to 100 Corvettes throughout his career. Unfortunately, the ultimate fate of the ‘Vettes is enough to make any Corvette-enthusiast’s toes curl. Ott would sell the sports cars for anywhere between $1,000 and $1,200 a piece to illegal chop shops (are there legal chop shops? – Ed.), where the vehicles would be disassembled and sold for parts.
A senior citizen described by authorities as ”a career car thief” has been indicted by a federal grand jury for stealing at least 14 new and used Corvettes throughout northern Ohio and Pennsylvania in the last year.
Daniel C. Ott Sr., 71, of Bath Township, is charged with aiding and abetting the operation of an automobile chop shop, and interstate transportation of stolen property.
In addition to the vehicles, he’s charged with stealing a compressor from a Medina County construction site and selling it in Pennsylvania.
His indictment was announced this week by U.S. Attorney Steven Dettelbach.
Ott, who is being held by the U.S. Marshals Service, was the target of an investigation into a vehicle theft ring in Ohio because he has previous federal convictions for auto theft, authorities said.
He allegedly stole the Corvettes from auto dealers between April 2009 and May 2010, and provided them to individuals running illegal chop shops, where the vehicles would be broken down and the parts resold, authorities said.
Two of the vehicles were taken to garages in Sagamore Hills Township and Bedford, where authorities say they also found parts from other cars.
Ott told authorities that he is paid $1,200 for each Corvette and he estimated that he has stolen more than 100 of the high-end sports cars — which cost about $50,000 new — in his career, according to an affidavit filed in U.S. District Court by FBI agent Michael Cizmar.
He also told authorities that he often ”fills orders” for certain vehicles wanted by the chop shops, the affidavit says.
Ott is described in the affidavit as a ”career car thief who specialized in Chevrolet Corvette thefts.”
According to a Beacon Journal story from February 1980, Ott was convicted and sent to federal prison for his part in an interstate car theft ring, which included the theft of an FBI pickup. He also was convicted of auto theft in the late 1990s.
No one else has been charged in the latest investigation, which is ongoing, U.S. Attorney spokesman Michael Tobin said.
Tobin declined to say how Ott allegedly stole the vehicles.
The affidavit says that authorities showed a chart to Ott detailing about $700,000 worth of thefts. He signed a statement confessing to many of the Corvette thefts and the theft of the compressor, according to the affidavit.
The affidavit also says authorities identified Ott as the thief after surveillance and tracking cell-phone calls that placed him in the general area of the thefts.
Ott is being represented by a federal public defender, who could not be reached for comment.
If found guilty on both felony charges, he could face a maximum of 25 years in prison.