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Nansana Police bust ring that steals, dismantle cars for spare parts, scraps

Car thieves fear being tracked and now just dismantle their loot for spare parts and scrap

NANSANA | Police have arrested five suspects for allegedly stealing, dismantling and selling motor vehicles as spare parts and leftovers to scrap dealers.

The suspects were arrested from a rented parking yard located at the premises of Daliya Bembe, Police said.

Acting on information provided by the area vigilantes about the suspicious activities taking place in the neighbourhood, Nansana Police led by SP Benard Katwalo conducted a raid on the premises.

“Four of the suspects were arrested while dismantling an Toyota Noah car registration number UAR 157N. We also found another car in the same premises, a Toyota Premio UAK 982B, already dismantled,” the Met Police said.

The Premio car was reported missing on August 29 by Joshua Lubega Babulira, who told Police it had been stolen from his home at 2am and a case was opened at CPS Kampala vide SD REF. 12/29/08/2018.

Police said that during a search on the yard, a number of car accessories such as new tyres, Mark II windscreens engraved with a registration number (UAF 325K), and radio systems were recovered.

Police also discovered an isolated burning ground from which investigators believe the suspects disposed of nonprofitable vehicle parts.

“During questioning, the suspects told Police that a vehicle weighing between 1,000 and 1500kg is usually dismantled in less than four hours and sold for between Shs2 million and Shs3 million,” according to Met Police.

In their statement, the suspects revealed that they dismantled vehicles instead of re-selling them in order to avoid being detected, tracked and arrested by Police.

The suspects are currently detained at Nansana Police Station pending charges on various cases ranging from stealing of motor vehicles and aggravated robbery.

Rise in car thefts in Kampala

Figures by the international crimes body, Interpol, show that there has been a rise in car theft cases in Uganda in the past three years.

Information from Police indicates that the number of vehicles stolen in the country rose from 64 in 2015, to 516 in 2016 and swelled to 589 in 2017.

Police say many stolen vehicle usually find market in the neighboring countries.

December last year, registered the highest number of carjacks with 288 cars reported stolen. It was followed by October that recorded 93 cases, September 86 and 58 cases registered in March this year.

“The five most stolen vehicles include Toyota Premio, Toyota Land Cruiser, Toyota Wish, Toyota Noah and Toyota Super Custom. People trafficking these cars include Ugandans, Congolese, Kenyans and South Sudanese,” reads the report in part.

In 2016, for example, DR Congo topped the destination list of vehicles smuggled within the East African countries followed by South Sudan while Uganda and Kenya came in third and fourth positions, respectively.

Stolen Car destinations

The police Criminal Investigations Department spokesperson, Vincent Ssekate, identifies the routes used to smuggle vehicles from Uganda as Kampala-Gulu highway to South Sudan via Elegu border post, Kampala-Gulu/Arua highway to DR Congo via Pakwach, Kampala-Mbale-Busia/Malaba to Kenya, and Kampala-Mbarara-Kasese to DR Congo.

“For cars smuggled into Uganda, traffickers use Dar-es-Salaam –Mutukula border to Kampala, Mombasa-Nairobi-Malaba/Busia to Kampala and Elegu border-Gulu-Kampala highway. These smugglers know these routes very well and have several forged documents they use to beat security at borders,” Ssekate said.

Ssekate also Interpol spokesperson in Uganda reveals tricks used by smugglers to steal vehicles, as among others, changing the colour and vehicle chassis number, and aggravated robbery, which involves use of weapons such as guns.

Police say the records of cars lost in the country every year staggers to 1,000 but less than 50 are recovered.

He attributes this to failure by car owners to avail police with prober documentation during car purchase, so that it would be easy for them to trace.

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