Regional Case Highlights - May 2024 Release

NICB Operations achieves success by leveraging special agents and analysts who employ sophisticated crime-fighting technology coupled with old-fashioned gumshoe detective work. Hop in and ride around the country with us as we spotlight a successful crime-related case in the seven operational regions and our foreign operations division.

Regional Case Highlights - May 2024 Release

By Howard Handler

An Oregon man channeled his inner-Sherlock Holmes when his vehicle was stolen. The amateur sleuth obtained both video footage of the vehicle being stolen and evidence that the suspect was selling property that was in the stolen vehicle. With his evidence in hand, he contacted NICB. NICB helped package the case and took it to a law enforcement contact. The police not only arrested the subject but found a second stolen vehicle as well.

Operation Sunrise sounds delightful but wasn’t the tranquil law enforcement operation the name implies. On the contrary, when a San Diego-area multi-year investigation into auto theft and associated crimes wrapped up, it netted 50 arrests, 172 stolen cars, and 14 firearms. The defendants are facing various felony charges, including vehicle theft, burglary, insurance fraud, identity theft, possession of stolen property, and more. NICB agents and analysts provided significant logistical, investigative, and analytical support throughout the investigation, including suspect identification, identification of cloned vehicles, and witness coordination.

The targets of cargo theft often are beyond comprehension, like 160,000 rounds of rifle ammunition, meant to be delivered to the Columbus (OH) Division of Police, that were stolen from an Ohio warehouse. The offenders also lifted numerous large appliances, two off-road motorcycles, a riding lawnmower, and a delivery truck. Police asked NICB to accompany them on the execution of the search warrant, and NICB assisted by performing ISO ClaimSearch® and vehicle shipping searches, along with onsite inspections of the lawnmower and motorcycles.

Illegally operated dirt bikes and off-road vehicles not only cause risk to personal safety and property, but often these vehicles are not properly registered or are stolen. To curtail the danger these illegally operated vehicles pose, a group of Massachusetts local and state agencies launched a Thursday night sting operation. By the end of the night, 19 bikes were seized, and more than 50 citations were issued. NICB was onsite to assist law enforcement with the recovery, identification, and inventory of seized vehicles.

NICB joined federal, state, and local agencies at a Port of Baltimore operation focused on intercepting and disrupting organized vehicle theft rings that seek to profit in the growing global illicit stolen vehicle market. Over the course of the four-day operation, dubbed Operation Terminus, 561 shipping containers, 734 vehicles, and 37 pieces of heavy construction equipment were inspected. In total, 12 stolen vehicles and one stolen combine tractor were recovered and returned to member insurers.

A law enforcement challenge that can be frustrating is the elusive nature of suspects. Such was the predicament faced by a workers’ compensation fraud detective with the Florida Department of Financial Services. The detective was in relentless pursuit of the head of a construction company accused of premium evasion north of $134,000 when the detective turned to NICB for assistance. NICB was able to assist with identifying the suspect’s whereabouts, leading to his apprehension. 

A Texas insurance agent got rattled when he realized he failed to rewrite a policy for a local motel owner whose facility sustained $250,000 in hail damage. The agent, in an attempt to cover his tracks, electronically backdated a renewal application to attempt coverage for his client. An NICB agent visited the insurance agent who made a recorded confession and demonstrated how he manipulated the computer system to allow the backdating. NICB presented its findings to the Texas Department of Insurance, which, while acknowledging the agent’s cooperation, issued a finding of misconduct. 

Foreign Operations
Sometimes when you lose, you win. When an NICB member picked up on a stolen vehicle’s GPS signal emitting from Mexico, it contacted NICB to coordinate with Mexican law enforcement. Mexican police made one visit to the last known location emitted by the GPS but were unable to find the vehicle. They returned the next day and still were unable to locate the stolen vehicle; however, what they found instead yielded a greater return: four vehicles and a jet ski stolen from the U.S. NICB reached out to the insurers that had the financial interest in the vehicles to coordinate their return over the border.

Anyone with information concerning insurance fraud or vehicle theft can report it anonymously by calling toll-free 800.TEL.NICB (800.835.6422) or submitting a form on our website.

About the National Insurance Crime Bureau: Headquartered in Oak Brook, Ill., the NICB is the nation's leading not-for-profit organization exclusively dedicated to combatting and preventing insurance crime through Intelligence, Analytics, and Operations; Education and Crime Prevention; and Strategy, Policy, and Advocacy. The NICB is supported by more than 1,200 property-casualty insurers, self-insureds, rental car, vehicle finance, and auto auctions. To learn more, visit