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Atlanta-This week police busted a man they say was responsible for stealing nearly 30 cars and recycling them in Atlanta. But then they discovered something else during the investigation-a new way auto thieves were covering their tracks.

"We think it's a new national trend of how to steal a car," said Major Darryl Tolleson.

He said the thieves steal a car, find the VIN from a similar junked car, then put that junked-yet-clean VIN on their stolen car. When they go to exchange the stolen car at a recycling center for cash, it comes up clean. Police say thieves started switching VIN plates after they noticed investigators were checking recycled cars to see if they were stolen.

Tolleson said 70% of stolen cars in Atlanta are more than 12 years old. At highest risk for theft are Honda Accords, Dodge Caravans and Jeeps.

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