The FBI issued a press release yesterday detailing a joint investigation into a $25 Million auto theft and cloning ring based in Tampa. The ring has allegedly been in operation for 20 years and is responsible for over 1,000 vehicle thefts in the state of Florida. The scammers “cloned” the stolen cars by removing VIN plates and other identifying features and replacing them with counterfeit ones – whose numbers trace back to other legitimately-owned non-stolen vehicles. The cloned cars were sold to unsuspecting buyers in 20 states and Mexico. More than 50 people have been charged in association with this investigation.