Three sales executives at a dealership in Nebraska, USA made off with 81 new cars worth $2.5 million (£1.8m).
About two dozen vehicles missing from Legacy Auto Sales were traced to Salt Lake City, Utah and at least 16 of those had been sold on at auction.
Six others were found at an airport, and the FBI found some of the other vehicles in Las Vegas.
A manager at the dealership told a local news reporter she had returned to work at the dealership in the morning with the forecourt “virtually empty”. The desks of three executives had been cleared out.
Police caught up with Rachel Fait, one of the sales executives in on the scheme in Utah and arrested her. The dealership’s general manager Rick Covello turned himself in to the police following Fait’s arrest and the dealership’s owner Allen Patch, who was also in on the robbery followed suit soon after.
The failed plan was to claim the cars were fully owned by the dealership, which was in the midst of closing down, and selling the cars through auction houses and direct to other dealers.
The problem with the plan was that the cars were owned by the financing arms of the respective carmakers.