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Tarrant County names prosecutor to combat car thefts

A line of cars stuck in traffic.
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The city of Fort Worth is hiring the first prosecutor in the state to focus solely on spotting vehicle theft trends in the county.

In Tarrant County, thefts rose more than 470 cases from last year, bringing the total to 6,367. Burglaries and fraud-related motor vehicle crimes are also on the rise in the county.

Assistant Criminal District Attorney Zane Reid has been appointed to the Tarrant County Regional Auto Crimes Task Force to crack down on auto crimes.

Reid will identify trends and group multiple cases together that might involve the same defendant.

Before the change, cases were sent to the district attorney's office and assigned to different prosecutors across the state.

"We can concentrate on addressing these large organized groups that steal vehicles across the state, millions of dollars of loss and have some strong prosecution to bring down the number of these offenses," said Bryan Sudan, commander of the Tarrant Regional Auto Crimes Task Force.

Due to updated technology, auto thefts have evolved over the years. Thieves now use fake IDs to buy cars and reprogram fobs to steal vehicles.

"Our thieves have become a lot more sophisticated and have learned how to manipulate, start them and steal newer model cars," said Sudan.

Funding for the new position comes from the Texas Motor Vehicle Prevention Authority, which is a division of the state Department of Motor Vehicles.

Ana Perez is a KERA News producer and the intern coordinator for the station.