KZN car theft syndicate shut down, seven arrested
DURBAN - Seven suspects, aged 30 to 45, were arrested in KwaZulu-Natal over the weekend on charges of possession of explosives, possession of stolen property and possession of illegal ammunition.
The suspects are to appear in court this week.
Police authorities from the Vehicle Crime Investigation Unit (VCIU) along with the metropolitan police conducted an operation at the Durban beachfront on Sunday.
A metro police officer spotted a vehicle with four male occupants. The vehicle was stopped and searched.
Police found several car-breaking implements as well as an undisclosed number of vehicle computer boxes. In addition to the items discovered by the police, it was revealed that the suspects’ vehicle engine had been tampered with, police spokesperson Captain Nqobile Gwala said in a statement on Monday.
Gwala said that the VCIU then tracked the vehicle to a house in Klaarwater, an area just outside Chatsworth, Durban.
Gwala that upon their arrival at the house the police found a 45-year-old suspect who was seen grinding and re-stamping a vehicle that was allegedly stolen from Hillcrest earlier this month.
“A further two suspects were arrested at the crime scene while trying to flee.”
Nine more vehicles were found at the Klaarwater residence, with one of them having been stolen in the Durban central area this month.
“The other eight vehicles' engines were tampered with,” Gwala said.
But the discoveries did not end there as the police dug up additional incriminating evidence.
“A hand grenade was found inside the house hidden in a laundry basket, as well as two pairs of police uniforms, registration documents, certificates, angle grinders, grilles, two stamping pencils, number plates, special electric equipment used to grind vehicle engine numbers, foreign currency notes and extension cables.”
Gwala said 38 rounds of ammunition and R260 000 in cash were found hidden inside a mattress.
KwaZulu-Natal provincial commissioner Lieutenant-General Khombinkosi Jula commended the police officers’ effort in bringing down the alleged syndicate.
“This is a significant breakthrough for the province and bodes well towards our fight against those who steal as well as those who buy these stolen cars,” Jula said.
African News Agency (ANA)