Chicago Car2Go app reportedly hacked, some 100 cars missing

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Users who attempted to access the firm's mobile app to book a auto have been met with a notice which says that services are not now available and the company will "provide an updated as soon as possible".

So be on the lookout for a Car2Go-branded Mercedes-Benz or two cruising the streets of Chicago, and keep in mind that they may represent the fruits of the sharing economy - just not the kind we've come to expect.

Numerous vehicles have been recovered at the West Side of Chicago and more than a a "dozen persons of interest" are being questioned.

The company - which is in 30 cities, including Washington - launched in Chicago previous year with a fleet of 400 cars available for rental, according to the Chicago Tribune.

"The Chicago Police Department was alerted by a auto rental company that some of their vehicles may have been rented by deceptive or fraudulent means through a mobile app", read the statement in part. Once inside the rides, the crooks either disappeared with the motors or used them as disposable getaway vehicles when committing other crimes.

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'The Chicago Police Department is working with the company to determine whether there any other vehicles whose locations can not be accounted for.

A Daimler spokesman said in an email the company is working with Chicago law enforcement "to neutralize a fraud issue". Half of the missing vehicles are Mercedes-Benz models such as the CLA-class sedan and the GLA-class subcompact SUV, while others include the tiny Smart Fortwo city auto. The company emphasized none of its users' personal data had been compromised and that none of its other markets, including Washington, D.C., have been affected.

The company tweeted: "Clarification: We were not hacked".

A Car2Go spokesman said the company is suspending its service in Chicago for the time being.

According to local CBS TV affiliate, at least 12 suspects are in custody, but the investigation is ongoing.