POLICE have been conducting intelligence-driven disruptive operations in all nine provinces this weekend in an effort to combat what they call the scourge of car theft and hijackings.
“In a multidisciplinary approach members from our Crime Intelligence Unit‚ the Flying Squad‚ Dog Unit‚ detectives and The Vehicle Investigation Services (VIS) targeted ‘backyard’ panelbeaters‚ ‘chop shops’‚ tow-truck operators and mechanical shops‚” said police spokesman Brigadier Vishnu Naidoo.
He said that some of the panelbeaters were operating from established businesses while others literally operated from the backyards of their houses where‚ at times‚ stolen and hijacked vehicles ended up being dismantled and sold for spares or their identity was changed or cloned.
“While focusing on our borders to ensure that stolen and hijacked vehicles are not taken out of our country it is imperative that holes‚ where there may be other potential ways of disposing of these vehicles such as the ‘backyard’ businesses‚ are plugged.
“This is neither the first operation of this kind nor is it the last. Our message to wrongdoers is that these operations will continue on a regular basis to monitor illegal activities and to ensure that the space and the opportunity for criminals to operate in become non-existent‚” Brig Naidoo said.
“Labelled Operation Tornado‚ we have already arrested at least 28 suspects around the country. We have also seized vehicles‚ engines‚ gear boxes‚ other vehicle spare parts and even guns during the operation. In one province police uniforms‚ which we believe may have been used to impersonate police officers during hijackings‚ were recovered.
“Our primary objective of this operation is to disrupt the market for stolen and hijacked vehicles. In doing so‚ we require the help of communities‚” Brig Naidoo said‚ appealing to all South Africans to act as the eyes and ears of the police in helping to combat crime.
RDM News Wire