NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 19 – Police have unearthed a major car-theft syndicate and detained 19 vehicles which have double registration. Police Spokesman Erick Kiraithe said they had arrested four suspects and were interrogating a dozen others on how they acquired their vehicles. He said an investigation into the racket was sanctioned by Police Commissioner Mathew Iteere a month ago and carried out by the Special Crime Prevention Unit (SCPU).
“The commissioner is personally concerned about this racket because it is costing Kenyans millions of shillings; there are people out there who forge log books and use them to sell vehicles obtained through questionable means,” Mr Kiraithe said. “This is done such that they also falsify engine and chassis numbers of the stolen vehicles to march those of an original log book which they duplicate before selling stolen cars,” he added.
Head of the SCPU Richard Katola said seven of the vehicles were impounded during a security operation in Eldoret while 11 were found in Kitale. The other two were found in Matunda area. “We have contacted the owners who have been helpful to us, we have interrogated those who turned up and are now investigating the true ownership,” Mr Katola said.
“As a result, we have been able to establish the correct ownership of four vehicles, the authenticity of the rest is yet to be known,” he added when he showed journalists eight of the vehicles which are being detained at the Nairobi Area Police headquarters. “These are some of the vehicles we are investigating ownership, the others are being detained at the Eldoret Police station,” he added.
The vehicles detained at the Nairobi Area Police headquarters, included two Toyota Premios, two Subaru Foresters, a Toyota 110 model and two Nissan pick ups 1200 model. All the vehicles had double registration numbers. Mr Kiraithe said: “As you can see, only one in every two of these vehicles have genuine registration numbers. The other one is just using the registration and documents of the other.”
The police spokesman said a similar investigation would be launched countrywide to “curb cases of theft of motor vehicles which appears to be on the rise.”
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