Daimler's carsharing service, Car2Go, has been the subject of numerous thefts in the city of Chicago, the company and local police say. As many as 100 Mercedes-Benz vehicles have been stolen in Chicago from the carsharing service, The Verge reported last Wednesday.
Motor Authority has confirmed with the Chicago Police Department that 21 people have been arrested for a fraud ring related to their thefts. Of those arrests, only one suspect faces felony charges, which include financial identity theft, ID theft, and credit card theft. The others have been charged with misdemeanors, namely criminal trespass to vehicles and other minor Illinois vehicle code violations.
Local reporting originally stated that the cars were stolen via a "hack," but Car2Go clarified these vehicles were taken through fraudulent means. The company hasn't exactly explained what it means by the "fraud" but said suspects may have rented the Mercedes-Benz cars through deceptive means via Car2Go's smartphone app. Given the charges, it appears that the suspect charged with the felonies may have stolen someone's identity and credit card and used that information to rent the cars then steal them.
Chicago police told MA that Car2Go was able to locate all of its vehicles via their GPS systems. The company also confirmed with CPD all vehicles were accounted for. The investigation remains ongoing, per a police spokesperson.
Car2Go affirmed to users that there has not been a hack into its systems and that all member information is safe and protected. As a precaution, however, Car2Go services have been suspended in Chicago. The problem has not affected any other markets where Car2Go operates, the company added.
The carsharing service said it would provide updates for when the service would be fully operational again. Car2Go did confirm with police that a total of 100 cars were involved in the fraudulent activity, though it is unclear how many of those were Mercedes-Benz vehicles and how many were Smart cars.
--Senior editor Kirk Bell contributed to this report