Johannesburg - Gauteng’s Crime Intelligence Unit and a member of the Ekurhuleni metro police arrested a motor vehicle scrapyard owner after five stolen vehicles were found on his property on Thursday.
The intelligence unit stationed in Brakpan and the metro police conducted an early morning raid at the premises following a tip-off, which led to recovery of the vehicles. Some of the vehicles were partly stripped when the police and metro cops pounced on the suspect.
At the scene, the police arrested the owner and another man for illegal possession of stolen vehicles. It is alleged some of the vehicles were stolen last February in Brakpan, Primrose (Germiston) and other areas in Ekurhuleni.
Brakpan police spokesman Captain Joep Joubert said one of the suspects arrested was the owner of a motor vehicle scrapyard and was allegedly using his warehouse to store suspected stolen vehicles.
Earlier, the suspects were questioned on the premises while police conducted further investigations on the vehicles and the scene. The cars were a BMW, Golf 4, Corsa, Mazda and a Hyundai. The cars were allegedly stripped and the parts sold by the men for their own benefit.
A source told The Star that the property owner had implicated a Brakpan police colonel officer in the crime. The source further said that what surprised him was the fact that the colonel failed to take the cars to a nearby police compound for storage while police investigations continue.
“The scrapyard owner said the colonel has allowed him to keep the cars on his property. The owner admitted that he knew that the cars on his property were stolen,” the source said.
Joubert couldn’t confirm the information implicating the colonel. “I do not know anything,” he said, adding that investigations were at a sensitive stage.
He said investigations were continuing and more arrests were likely.
Joubert had earlier requested The Star not to publish the pictures of the suspects, a request he said was from the station commander.
Tow-trucks could be seen outside the chop shop with police marked vehicles, which made onlookers and motorist curious.
The trucks later left without towing all the vehicles away.
The Star understands that the pair were later released, but the police were unable to give an explanation about their decision. Joubert then said: “I wouldn’t know now. I am off-duty”.
Ekurhuleni police spokesman Vusi Mabanga could also not confirm the release of the suspects at the time of publication.