Twenty-one people face criminal charges related to the apparent heist of at least 100 Mercedes-Benz vehicles operating as part of a car-sharing fleet in Chicago, according to city police.

A police spokesperson said late Thursday afternoon the investigation into the disappearance of the vehicles in the Car2Go fleet remains ongoing.

So far, 21 people have been charged with misdemeanor criminal trespass to vehicle, and one of those individuals faces an additional felony charge for financial identity theft.

The Chicago Police Department said Car2Go employees contacted them and said some of the companys vehicles may have been rented by deceptive or "fraudulent means" via the brands mobile app. It remains unclear exactly how access and control of the cars was obtained, but as of Thursday evening, police said all cars have been accounted for.

Availability of the car-sharing fleet remains suspended amid the tumult. A Car2Go spokesperson said the company will provide additional updates and information on the reinstatement of service "as soon as we can."

Car2Go is in the midst of re-branding itself as Share Now, part of a joint-venture between Mercedes-Benz and BMW formed in February with a total of $1.1 billion in investments. The venture has five prongs, including electric-charging use, ride-hailing, parking services, a smartphone-based routing service and Share Now, which covers short-term rental services.

Currently, Car2Go serves seven markets in the U.S. In Chicago, it offers customers choices between Mercedes-Benz GLA crossovers, Mercedes-Benz CLA cars and Smart ForTwo microcars.

Source: Autonews

April 18, 2019