Police: Man arrested after stealing vehicles in 5 counties

by: Tina Terry Updated:

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LINCOLN COUNTY, N.C. —

Investigators said one man stole high-end cars and trucks from car dealerships in five counties.

Fredrick Washburn was arrested in 2012 and convicted of selling stolen trucks and boats on the Internet.

Now investigators said Washburn went to dealerships in Hickory, Statesville, Gastonia, Denver and Shelby, lifting keys and stealing cars when no one was watching.

The owner of a car dealership in Lincoln County went to police after he said a $30,000 truck was stolen off the lot.

Investigators said surveillance cameras helped them make an arrest.

"It was pretty bold for somebody to come in and steal a car off the lot like that," said Darin Grooms, the dealership owner.

Grooms said he noticed a Ford truck was missing five days before Christmas, but investigators believe Washburn was plotting to steal it weeks before.

The surveillance pictures from Dec. 9 show an employee driving the truck into the lot and five minutes later, a BMW pulls in.

Police said Washburn was behind the wheel.

"He pulled up beside the truck, pulled the keys out of the truck, got back to his car and left," Grooms said.

The cameras captured Washburn 10 days later when investigators believe he came back to steal the truck.

Investigators arrested Washburn with help from Hickory police and the license plate from the BMW.

Police said the stolen trucks were stashed in five different counties and he was planning to sell them.

Investigators say this is nothing new for Washburn.

Hickory police pulled $250,000 worth of stolen items last year from Washburn's lakefront home in Hickory.

They said he stole trucks and boats, some from as far away as California, and then sold them on Craigslist.

He was arrested and convicted of the crime but was released from jail in April.

Investigators also found the keys to six cars Tuesday in addition to the five trucks they recovered.

Washburn was given a $50,000 bond and he'll be in court again in a couple of weeks

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