-used some in ‘private hire’ service, demanded $24,000 a week from drivers
Police were yesterday still trying to assess the scope of the recently dismantled carjacking ring whose operations stretched from East Coast Demerara to Linden.
Investigators believe that the gang included ex-policemen, several young taxi drivers, individuals with access to firearm, mechanics and bodywork specialists, women who acquired duplicate vehicle keys, and individuals who assisted in providing forged documents.
From the haul of vehicles and parts they have recovered so far, police believe that the gang stole hundreds of vehicles over the years.
Investigators have also recovered stolen motorcycles and at least one Bobcat.
According to sources, most of the vehicles were stolen in Georgetown and stashed in areas along the Soesdyke/Linden Highway with rough terrain and are difficult to access.
Police say that one of the key players in the operation is a former policeman, who allegedly rented out the stolen cars to young taxi drivers. The former policeman is reportedly before the court on an armed robbery charge.
One of his main accomplices is said to be a Lodge Housing Scheme resident whose home police raided on Wednesday night.
There, police seized a black Mazda Axela, licence number PTT 2794, and 12 certificates of registration. They also detained a 52-year-old woman.
Police have arrested at least 16 suspects so far, among them several taxi drivers and three women.
The stolen vehicles were stashed in areas such as Kuru Kururu, Yarrowkabra and Monument Hill on the Soesdyke/Linden Highway.
There some were stripped, registration numbers removed, refitted with parts from other vehicles, repainted, and equipped with false number plates.
Sources identified a truck owner known as ‘Crime Chief’, who helped to dismantle and transport the vehicles and spares.
At least one of the ringleaders, said to be the detained ex-cop, allegedly gave young men in these communities these vehicles to operate, while demanding they bring in $24,000 a week.
“The drivers would work in those areas, out of sight of the police,” a source said.
When investigators began to track down the vehicles, they even found a Bobcat that had been stripped of its parts. They also found a ‘graveyard’ of vehicle doors, and the shells of several vehicles.
So far, at least two owners have identified their vehicles.
One victim is a University of Guyana lecturer who was robbed last August, of his Toyota Allion in front of his Bel Air home.
According to sources, some of the female accomplices assisted in the stealing of rental cars. The women would reportedly rent the vehicles and then acquire duplicate keys.
After returning the cars, they would give the gang members the keys and the licence numbers and description of the vehicles.
But investigators believe that the gang had assistance from individuals who helped them to procure documents such as bogus certificates of registration.
Speaking to Kaieteur News following the opening of the Police Officers’ Conference, Ministry of Public Security Khemraj Ramjattan stated that some former members of the Force provided ‘guidance’ to the carjackers.
“I understand that these carjackers were being advised by former policemen. And you know when good cops turn bad, and are advisers to criminals, you will take a longer process to catch these carjackers. We have now broken it.”
Ramjattan said that “community policing coming to the fore” assisted in dismantling the gang.
“Those community members in and around the East Bank managed to get information, because they saw the cars parking up.”
But he said that others in the communities “saw and did nothing. We understand that some of them were being paid, and this kind of thing, when you are being paid (and with) ex cops giving advice, it’s going to be difficult, but we’ve cracked it and that’s good.”
On Tuesday, police ranks arrested two more persons. They also seized a black Premio PMM 6979, which is suspected to be stolen. The vehicles were found during searches at Yarrowkabra on the Soesdyke/Linden Highway.
Shortly after, the team went to another location in Yarrowkabra and arrested a 39 year-old taxi driver on whose premises two dirt bikes were found.
Also, a 22-year-old taxi driver of Chand Sand Road, Timehri, handed a beige Spacio motorcar # PPP 82, which he alleged was given to him to drive by an individual who is in police custody.
Earlier in the week, ‘A’ Division ranks arrested the ex-policeman who is an alleged ringleader and six others at Yarrowkabra.
They also seized at least two cars and a truck laden with spares.
The Canter truck that the police seized was loaded with the shell of a silver Toyota Spacio and a quantity of vehicle parts.
A release said that a Barr Street, Kitty resident owns the truck.
Tuesday’s operation occurred just three days after police seized several stolen vehicle parts during raids at North Vryheid’s Lust, East Coast Demerara and Monument Hill, Kuru Kururu, Soesdyke/Linden Highway.
A former policeman, a husband and wife and four women were detained in that raid.
At North Vryheid’s Lust, the Major Crimes Investigation Unit arrested a 29-year-old taxi driver and his 25-year-old wife.
There, the ranks retrieved several car mirrors, with engraved licence plate numbers; doors, lights, wipers and other vehicle parts for Toyota Allion, Spacio and Premio motorcars.
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