They were masqueraded as used fitness equipment, but U.S. Customs officials at the ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles learned that they were worth a lot more than stationary bikes.
And on Tuesday, the Customs officials plan to show off the seized shipment of 20 stolen luxury cars, including a Ferrari Italia 458 worth $200,000. Details about exactly where the car show will happen were not entirely clear. Since the Ferrari was a 2010 model, the cars may have been purchased at a dealership, but Customs officials could not be reached Sunday.
The stolen vehicles were labeled as used sports equipment and seized at the Los Angeles-Long Beach port complex by Custom and Border Protection's Outbound Enforcement Team, were valued at $1.5 million. They were bound for Hong Kong and Vietnam, Customs officials said.
Investigators learned that the crooks used fake names to buy or lease new cars, then ship them overseas. It was unclear if any arrests were made. Among the vehicles seized were the 2010 Ferrari, Mercedes-Benzes, BMWs, Infinitis, Lexuses and Audis.
In fiscal 2011, CPB seized 61 vehicles and 49 engines at the ports that were headed overseas. Twenty-four were stolen, and six had fraudulent documentation, according to CPB.
--With City News Service reporting.