Police seize 78 motor vehicle engines
Police in Nairobi have seized 78 assorted motor vehicle engines suspected to have been stolen from cars in Nairobi and surrounding areas.
They were recovered from a store in Kariobangi, where the owner Mr John Mwangi, claimed he buys vehicles involved in accidents from insurance firms and canibalises them for sale.
The engines along with other vehicle body parts were seized from the store following weeks of investigation.
Most of them had been cannibalised and it was difficult for one to identify them, but police have requested anyone whose car was stolen to visit Buruburu Police Station and inspect the engines and body parts.
The other body parts included bonnets, doors, bumpers, rims and inner parts. The owner of the store has been arrested and is helping police with investigation.
Mwangi and his wife Ann Muthoni said: “We have been in this business for seven years. We buy salvaged cars and cut them into different parts, which we sell,” said Muthoni.
But police said they believe some of the vehicles are stolen and taken there, where they are dismantled and later sold as spare parts.
According to Buruburu OCPD Jacinta Wesonga, the seizure was occasioned by an investigation by a group of Administration Police who had been tipped by a local resident.
The officers were informed there were two engines of cars that had been reported stolen that were being put on sale at the store.
“After they visited there, they were shocked to find a huge store of dozens of engines and later informed us. We took away the engines and have since established they are questionable,” said Ms Wesonga.
The engines and other body parts were stored on two floors each measuring more than 60 feet.
The owners of the store said they had produced documents including logbooks to prove the vehicles are legally there.
But Wesonga said the couple had only produced 14 logbooks, which police are using to establish the original owners from the Registrar of Motor Vehicles at the Kenya Revenue Authority offices.
She added it is likely most of the vehicles had been stolen from genuine owners and later taken there for re-sale.
The OCPD , however, added if any of those seized would be found to be genuinely owned, they will be returned to the owners.
Locals said only those who knew what goes on there visited the store.
“There are youth here who usually chase curious people who try to know what is going on there. We thought they are in genuine business,” said a neighbour of the store.
Others said they had seen plain-clothes police visit the area on several occasions for unknown business.
The engines were later loaded onto police lorries and driven to Buruburu Police Station.
On Sunday was not the first time that such a raid was carried out.
In 2005, former Police Commissioner Hussein Ali led police in raiding garages in the same area where stolen cars were being dismantled and later sold to unsuspecting motorists as spare parts.
More than 100 engines were then taken away and six suspects taken to court.
The raid came at a time when police are in a spot over rising cases of carjacking and very few recoveries of stolen vehicles.
And, this weekend alone, police reports indicated a slight increase of carjackings across the city.
Some of the carjacked cars are yet to be recovered.
The incidents were reported in Buruburu, Kasarani, Kilimani, Dagoretti and Langata. Carjackings usually shoot up at the end of the month.
Meanwhile, police are looking for a six-man gang that raided a bar in Githurai Kimbo at the weekend and shot the supervisor in a botched robbery.
The victim was shot in the thigh and is recuperating in hospital.