The North Carolina Department of Motor vehicles wants to review a motor vehicle theft in Conover in connection with similar crimes throughout the state.
Catawba County sheriff's deputies arrested Nhia Xiong, 22, of Conover, on Friday after he allegedly stole a blue 1995 Honda Civic from a residence in Conover. Xiong then allegedly took the vehicle back to his home to disassemble the car and sell its parts.
Capt. Roy Brown, of the Catawba County Sheriff's Office, said the NCDMV's License and Theft Bureau is interested in reviewing the case to determine its connection with similar thefts in North Carolina. Brown said thieves strip vehicles for their parts, and the parts are sold for money outside North Carolina. The Catawba County Sheriff's Office will compile its findings in the case and submit the information to the NCDMV.
The Honda Civic was reported stolen Friday about 5:30 a.m. from a residence in the 3600 block of Puett Park in Conover. The victim, Fernando Flores, 19, of Conover, said the last time he saw the vehicle was Thursday about 11:30 p.m.
Flores provided information to sheriff's deputies about where the vehicle could be located. Deputies found the Honda Civic about two hours later in the 2300 block of Oweda Drive in Conover, were Xiong lives. Xiong's residence is about 10 miles away from where the vehicle was reported stolen.
Xiong was arrested Friday at 10:20 a.m and charged with larceny of a motor vehicle and two counts of possession of stolen property. Brown said the possession of stolen property charges likely include any personal items in the car at the time of its theft.
Xiong was transported to Catawba County jail under a $17,500 secured bond.
The vehicle was returned to its owner, but many of its parts were stripped. The vehicle is valued at $2,500.
Brown said Honda vehicles are among the most commonly stolen vehicles.
"The vehicle itself is in demand, and people look for the parts," Brown said.
The NCDMV confirmed that fact. According to the DMV's website, the top two commonly stolen vehicles in North Carolina are the 1994 Honda Accord and the 1995 Honda Civic, which is the same model stolen from Flores. Other commonly stolen vehicles include the 1991 Toyota Camry, the 1997 Ford F-150 pickup truck and the 2004 Dodge Ram pickup truck.
Brown said multiple cases of vehicle theft and subsequent stripping of parts are reported annually in Catawba County.
Vehicle theft costs the U.S. consumers $8 billion annually, according to the NCDMV's website. The NCDMV employs about 150 inspectors to combat and investigate vehicle theft, title fraud and other fraud incidents.
The NCDMV's License and Theft Bureau was created in 1921 and is part of the State Emergency Response Team.