The Ultimate Chop Shop Quiz

By: Staff

4 Min Quiz

Image: refer to hsw

About This Quiz

Nearly 25 percent of all stolen cars are taken to illegal chop shops where they're dismantled and sold for parts. Think you know what goes on in these chop shops? Then take our quiz to see if you could turn a car into cash in just a matter of hours.

In the United States in 2009, a car was stolen how often, on average?

While a car stolen every 40 seconds might seem like an extremely high frequency of theft, it is actually lower than previous years. Thefts actually decreased by 17 percent between 2008 and 2009.

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In 2009, about how many of every 100,000 cars were stolen in the United States?

About 250 cars per 100,000 were stolen in 2009, adding up to a total of just under 800,000 total cars.

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A spike in car thefts in the United States occurred during which decade?

Professional car theft rings began to develop in the 1960s and 1970s, leading up to a huge increase in thefts in the late 1970s. This increased theft, fueled by professional chop shops, led to a Congressional investigation and Federal anti-theft legislation.

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True or False: Car theft rates have steadily increased in the United States in the late 2000s.

False. Car theft rates actually dropped at the end of the 2000s, despite the poor economy.

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Which of the following happens to the majority of stolen cars?

Only 12.4 percent of stolen car cases are solved in the United States each year, leaving most stolen cars unrecovered by police. The same percentage applies for Canadian car thefts, as well. While many of those may end up in chop shops, there is no way to be sure.

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True or False: Chop shops are usually affiliated with organized crime.

Some chop shops are run independently, but most of them are part of large networks of thieves, multiple chop shops and salvage yards that sell stolen parts.

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True or False: Chop shops are frequently run behind the front of a legitimate body shop or parts dealer.

In addition to selling on the black market, chop shops often sell their parts through legitimate dealerships or salvage yards. They also frequently operate behind fronts, repairing cars by day, and stealing and dismantling them by night.

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What is re-Vinning?

Re-Vinning is a way to disguise a stolen car by replacing its vehicle identification number with the VIN of another car. A re-Vinned car is extremely difficult to prove as stolen when its VIN has been replaced.

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When a car is stolen and re-Vinned by a chop shop, it is usually sold where?

There is a burgeoning overseas market for stolen cars, because law enforcement has difficulty tracking down cars in foreign countries, and thanks to the demand for cheap vehicles in the developing world.

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Why do chop shop operators frequently buy wrecked cars at salvage auctions?

The vehicle identification numbers of wrecked cars can be used to re-Vin cars that have been stolen. Since totaled cars are so cheap at auction, the expense is minimal.

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Which region(s) of the world has a large market for stolen, re-Vinned, illegally exported cars?

Both Africa and the Middle East have become huge markets for illegally exported, stolen cars. Political instability in many countries in those regions makes it relatively easy to sell illegal cars without penalty.

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True or False: U.S. legislation has eradicated the possibility of selling the parts of late model cars, by requiring VIN numbers be included on engine parts and components.

False. While VIN numbers must be included on the engines and transmissions of late model cars, chop shops can easily dispose of the parts that contain VIN numbers and sell the rest.

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What is the most profitable way for a chop shop to sell a car?

Especially for older cars whose parts are more difficult to find, selling cars piecemeal is much more profitable than selling them intact. The market price for an entire car worth of parts is much higher than the price of the car used.

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Which of these components can be removed by a chop shop by unscrewing a few bolts?

The doors and seats are extremely easy to remove, and worth a lot of money when sold. Some cars have only four bolts attaching those components to the rest of the car.

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To whom do many chop shops sell their parts?

Many chop shops operate as fronts, disguised as legitimate body shops and sell their parts to the general public. They also sell their parts to unsuspecting or unethical salvage yards who sell to the public.

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Which of these tools are used by chop shop workers to dismantle cars?

Acetylene cutting torches are used to cut through the body and frame of the car in order to split it up into components that can be easily sold or moved.

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Which of these components cannot be easily sold by a chop shop?

The VIN number is found on the frame, making it easy for law enforcement to identify it as stolen. Frames are typically sold for scrap metal at a pittance.

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What is a "body switch?"

Similar to re-Vinning, a body switch is a way to sell a stolen car so that it cannot be identified as stolen. Parts from a stolen car are grafted to the frame of a salvaged car, so that the VIN numbers belong to the salvaged car instead of the stolen car.

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True or False: Tractor trailers cannot be dismantled in chopped shops because their parts are too easy for police to trace.

Tractor trailer parts are actually much harder to trace than automobile parts, and they fetch higher prices. So, they frequently end up in chop shops when they are stolen.

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Chop shops have been known to steal which type of unconventional vehicle?

While they may be more difficult to navigate back to the shop, vehicles like construction equipment, ATVs and boats end up in chop shops alongside cars. Unconventional vehicles are often harder to trace, since the same federal regulations for registration and VINs don't usually apply.

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