BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — A Birmingham man pleaded guilty this week to a two-year scheme involving the theft and shipment of at least $1.6 million in stolen cars across interstate lines, according to U.S. attorney Prim F. Escalona.

Dexter Sherrod Pearce, 34, admitted as part of his plea that from May 2020 until August 2022, he stole and transported at least 24 cars from one state to another. Pearce also said that he had accomplices. In his plea, Pearce mentioned they stole cars from automobile dealerships and individuals in other states and transported them to the Northern District of Alabama to make a profit. 

To cover their tracks and be able to sell the stolen vehicles, Pearce said he and his associates altered vehicle identification numbers, obtained false bills of sale and tag applications, and used the false documents to obtain bogus car titles and registrations. In accordance with his plea deal, Pearce will pay restitution to the victims of his crimes and forfeit $227,615.00, which serves to represent the money he made during the conspiracy.

“The theft and interstate transportation of stolen vehicles has been a persistent problem in many parts of this country,” Escalona said in a release.

“Organized criminal activity, such as this, is extremely costly to victims and the economy as a whole,” said Homeland Security Investigations Acting Special Agent in Charge Travis Pickard in a release. “Every day, HSI and our law enforcement partners are working to disrupt these criminal organizations and bring those who look to profit from these stolen goods to justice.”

The maximum penalty for conspiracy is five years in prison and a $250,000 fine. The maximum penalty for interstate transportation of stolen cars is 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.