Charlotte man faces charges for allegedly ‘cloning’ car

A Charlotte man is facing felony charges for allegedly cloning a car.

Cloning is when you take a stolen or salvaged car, change its vehicle identification number (VIN) to make it harder to research the vehicle’s history then try to sell it to an unsuspecting buyer.

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Agents with the North Carolina Division of Motor Vehicles say they found out someone was selling a 2021 BMW on Facebook Marketplace. They say they posed as a buyer and messaged the seller.

According to the search warrant, they say they ran the car’s VIN and it did not exist, which is a common sign that a vehicle is cloned.

Investigators say the seller agreed to meet and that he suggested a Bank of America parking lot in northwest Charlotte. Undercover officers went and did a “buy/bust.”

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Agents say the BMW turned out to be stolen and “re-vinned,” meaning someone had altered the VIN.

Officers arrested Tyvonni Purnell and charged him with possession of a stolen motor vehicle and altering serial numbers. Both are felony charges.

Action 9′s Jason Stoogenke offers this advice when you buy a car:

- Check the VIN plate on the dashboard to make sure it doesn’t look like someone tampered with it.

- Look for grammatical errors on any paperwork.

- Check the VIN on Carfax or NHTSA’s website. Both will tell you the year, make, and model the car should be. Carfax will also tell you the vehicle’s history.

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