A Michigan car thief in a stolen Ford F-150 Raptor unwittingly led cops to the location of three more missing pickups and a GT500 Mustang after failing to notice he was being tailed by a police helicopter.
The incident began on Wednesday night when Michigan State Police received a report that several high performance Ford Raptor pickups had been stolen from a Ford facility in Dearborn. Troopers were informed that the thieves were wearing ski masks, and of their direction of travel, so decided to send a chopper up to scout for them.
One of the Raptors was quickly located and followed, the airborne crew giving ground officers location updates so they could get cops in cars ready to pounce. The spied truck’s driver abandoned his Raptor outside a house, but the pickup was recovered, and soon afterwards troopers were able to stop a car leaving the same address driven by a man in a ski mask.
Three suspects were arrested and the police discovered three more vehicles that turned out to have been stolen, including a Mustang GT500 that had been pinched from Ford’s Flat Rock plant earlier this year. That car is one of “four to five” GT500s swiped in June, three of which were recovered the same day, as police enjoyed a minor success in the battle to stop a spate of thefts from factories in Metro Detroit.
Thermal imaging footage from the police helicopter looks incredibly cool, making the heat from the truck’s twin tailpipes look like the Raptor has a pair of rockets strapped to the underside of the bed. And when we get a chance to jump behind the wheel of the new 2023 F-150 Raptor R, hopefully later this year, we suspect it’ll feel like that too. The stock Raptor is reasonably quick thanks to its 450 hp (456 PS) 3.5-liter twin-turbo V6, but the Raptor R gets a 5.2-liter supercharged V8 from the Mustang Shelby GT500 that whips up 700 hp (710 PS) and 640 lb-ft (868 Nm) of torque.
That’s not quite as much muscle as the GT500 itself (760 hp / 771 PS) or the Ram TRX (702 hp / 712 PS), but should scoot the R to 60 mph (96 km/h) in less than 4 seconds. Don’t go getting any ideas about stealing once from Ford’s plant and trying to outrun the eye-in-the-sky, though: the Raptor R’s top speed is artificially restricted to just 120 mph (193 km/h).
H/T to The Detroit News