CHANDLER, Ariz. (AP) - Police in the Phoenix suburb of Chandler say they've been fighting the theft of large trucks and sport-utility vehicles from big parking lots along Interstate 10 - thefts they link to smugglers.
Detectives say the process usually begins with a cartel boss in Mexico who calls local thieves and gives them an order for vehicles. The thieves take the trucks and leave them at designated drop points along the interstate.
Then, cartel workers pick them up and drive them across the border to be loaded with drugs or people and taken back to the United States.
Heavily targeted parking lots, such as at Chandler Fashion Center mall, are places where drivers are likely to stay inside for a while. That gives thieves plenty of time to steal the vehicles and head south.