Jan 21, 2022 News
– another stolen car recovered at ECD workshop
By Shervin Belgrave
Kaieteur News – The recent arrest of six persons and the discovery of another stolen car at a well-known work shop located at Montrose on the East Coast of Demerara (ECD) might just be the break that ranks from the Special Organised Crime Unit (SOCU), needed to dismantle a carjacking gang operating across Region Four Guyana.
Relating to Kaieteur News that such a gang exists in the country was SOCU’s boss, Senior Superintendent of Police, Fazil Karimbaksh. This newspaper understands that SOCU has been investigating a number hijackings and car theft that took place in recent years. It was long suspected that the disappearance of these vehicles could be linked to a discreet and well-organized criminal gang that has managed to stay off the radar for a very long time.
However, time might just be running out for this suspected Car-Jacking gang after SOCU ranks were able to locate two stolen cars in a workshop at Montrose. The first car, a stolen white Toyota Allion, was found on Monday last. The vehicle was reportedly hijacked from a taxi driver, Steve Mootooveren a few days prior to its discovery at the workshop.
Kaieteur News had reported on January 16, that hijackers had used a beautiful woman to lure Mootoveren into a trap. She had approached him around 18:30Hrs on January 15, while plying his trade in front of the Giftland Mall and hired him for a drop to South Ruimveldt.
Mootoveren had told this newspaper he never makes trips to that area during the nights but decided to take a chance because she appeared to be an innocent and decent young lady. Upon his arrival at the location two gunmen pounced on him and dragged him out of his car and drove away with it while his female passenger vanished. The matter was reported to police and SOCU took up the case. Investigators conducted an intelligence led operation and it took them to a Workshop on the East Coast were they found the stolen car.
They noted that significant changes were made to give the vehicle a new look but luckily they got there before the criminals could have removed the engine number. An employee along with the owner of the workshop and another man positively identified as the hijacker were arrested.
As SOCU continued its investigation, ranks on Wednesday were able to find a second stolen car at the same workshop. That car, a Toyata Fielder Wagon was stolen on November 18, last year, from in front of a house located at Beterverwagting, ECD.
Speaking with Kaieteur News yesterday, SOCU’s head, Karimbaskh said that the owner had burst into tears when ranks called him to identify his car. The suspected gang had changed the car’s colour from a silver grey to white, a new engine number was also welded on and most of the parts were changed but what the criminals did not know, is that there were special markings placed on the vehicle by the owner, Tyrone Pires. It was those secrets markings that assisted investigators in identifying the stolen wagon.
Pires told Kaieteur news that when he saw the car, he was moved to tears because it was his only source of income. “I am a father of five children and working taxi is the only way I provide for my family. It was stolen from me just before the holidays and it hurt because my children were forced to spend a black Christmas”, Pires told Kaieteur News. The man said that he ended up indebting himself just to take care of his family throughout the holiday and had given hope that his car would be found. “When SOCU call me it was like a surprise and I felt good”, he said.
With the discovery of a second stolen car, explained Karimbaskh it is quite clear that we are dealing with a large “car thefing ring”.
In fact, the SOCU boss is confident that his ranks will discover more stolen cars and eventually dismantle the gang. Sources related that the ongoing investigation has led to the arrest of three more suspects and has even shed some light on how the gang operates and manages to keep itself off radar.
The source explained that the gang would legally purchase cars that were destroyed in road accidents. They would store these vehicles and then send out its members to hijack or steal one similar to the “crashed cars” they had bought.
The stolen cars would then be taken to a workshop where mechanics are tasked to make them look like the legally purchased “crashed cars”. Mechanics would remove parts and the engine numbers from legally purchased cars and place them on the stolen ones before they are resold to unsuspecting buyers. The Parts removed from stolen cars would then be resold in the local market as spares. With this style operation the gang is able to operate un-detected for years because all their paper work for the vehicles they sold are legal and it was difficult for law enforcement officers to track them down. Nevertheless, recent developments have allowed SOCU to make a major breakthrough in its bid to dismantle the gang.
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