Industrial espionage has been a part of the automotive industry for decades, and now that eager Chinese companies are willing to do whatever it takes to get a foothold over their competitors, they’re recruiting workers from rival companies. Turns out that three employees of Metaldyne, a maker of auto parts for engines, have been stealing files by putting them on CDs and sneaking them out of the office.

Anne Lockwood, 53, Metaldyne's former vice president of sales, her husband, Michael Haehnel, 51, who was a senior engineer at the company, and Fuping Liu, 42, a metallurgist who worked for Metaldyne face charges of up to 20 years in prison and fines of up to $250,000 if convicted.

US enforcement agencies are taking intellectual theft seriously, with Detroit being one of seven cities earmarked for getting extra staff to combat the threat of IP theft and computer hacking.

[Source: Detroit News]