The two men sold parts online at a fraction of their cost.

Almost a year ago, an unidentified Abarth dealer complained to the factory that they received an incomplete Esseesse kit. The kit is a wooden crate that contains all the parts necessary to modify an Abarth 500 into a more powerful and stiffer-riding Abarth 500 Esseesse (pronounce that eh-seh eh-seh).

At first Abarth treated the incident as an isolated case of negligence when packing the kit but soon after, more dealers complained of receiving incomplete kits.

When a dealer notified Abarth that they hadn't received the kit altogether, the Italian tuner noticed that something had gone awry and notified the Italian Carabinieri.

After an eight-month-long investigation, the Carabinieri linked the missing parts to two Abarth employees who allegedly grabbed parts from the kits and sold them online for a fraction of their normal cost. An Esseesse ECU costs $2,000 at an Abarth parts counter but only $400 when purchased online from its employees.

The Carabinieri estimate that over a million euros worth of parts were stolen, a figure which equates to 1.36 million dollars. The duo peddled nearly every type of Abarth parts; bucket seats, turbochargers, brake components, even articles of clothing, nothing was overlooked.

The two employees behind the scheme have been arrested. Twenty-three other men working either for Abarth or for the Italian postal service were taken in for questioning in relation to the case.

A little less than a year ago BMW experienced a similar problem in several of their assembly plants. The German firm was not as lucky as Abarth and the stolen goods amounted to nearly four million dollars.


1.'Rubano un milione di euro...' view