Stealing cars from the capital, the auto-thieves are using innovative ways to take them to Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. When caught, they also get `assistance` from the police in Peshawar.
Islamabad`s Shalimar police traced and arrested a `receiver` of stolen cars early this month. A receiver buys the stolen car directly from the auto thieves or a carrier, changes its engine and chassis numbers and sells it in the market.
The receiver was handed over to Dubgari police station in Peshawar till the completion of legal process â€“ obtaining transit remand â€“ to bring him to Islamabad for probe into incidents of stolen vehicles.
However, the Dubgari police `assisted` the receiver to escape within hours. The Shalimar police were stunned when the Dubgari police initially showed ignorance about the receiver in their custody but later said he escaped from their custody.
Islamabad police formally lodged a complaint with the capital city police officer (CCPO) of Peshawar, who ordered to register a criminal case against the officials of Dubgari police station. The CCPO also ordered re-arrest of the receiver and handing him over to Islamabad police.
Last week Jamshaid Khan was handed over to the Shalimar police.
On October 19 last year, recovery of a cellphone led to the arrest of Khan. On that day a Toyota Corolla was stolen from sector G-10. Alerted about the missing Toyota, the police went on a hunt. After hours long search, the police found the car abandoned in the parking lot of Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (Pims). The police`s success turned sour when they found that the thieves have stolen two Mehrans from the same parking lot.
A cellphone recovered from the Toyota Corolla had the number of Jamshaid, which led to his arrest.
Sub-Divisional Police Officer Shalimar Circle Assistant Superintendent of Police Faisal Bashir Memon told Dawn that Jamshaid ran a spare-parts shop in Dubgari.
The auto-thieves or carriers take the stolen vehicles to the shop where tyres, rims, CD/DVD players and other accessories are replaced with old ones. Afterwards, vehicles are sold in the market.
ASP Memon said on the information of Jamshaid, his nephew Haris Khan, ring leader of the gang, was also arrested on March 19. Three more members of the gang â€“ Ashfaq Dabo, 22, two women and a child â€“ had been arrested in February this year after a raid on a hotel in F-10 Markaz, in which weapons and Rs50,000 were also recovered.
The probe revealed that the gang would come to Islamabad with their girlfriends and “children of their families” to hire rooms in hotels and guesthouses. The gang`s male members would steal vehicles and return to the hotel or the guesthouse.
Replacing the number plate with a fake one, on the same night they would return to Khyber Pakhtunkhwa with the girls and the children, making it a familial outing to avoid checking at the barricades. Normally the gang would come to the capital in the evening and leave in the night or the next morning with the stolen vehicle.
The ASP said a member of another gang from Layyah, which was stealing cars from the capital, was arrested from the Motorway last week. He said the gangs were stealing the latest XLI and GLI models of Toyota Corolla. The stolen car was sold to the receiver for Rs125,000, who after tampering its engine and chassis number would sell it in the market for Rs500,000 or more.
He said the stolen vehicles were taken to `somewhere` in sector G-10 where their trackers were removed. Later, they were taken to Peshawar Road using the green area of sectors G-10 and 1-10, before finally hitting the road for Peshawar.
Another police officer told Dawn that 10 Toyota Corollas were stolen from the areas of Shalimar and Margalla police stations in December last year, 15 in January, 12 in February and only one in the current month. Police have also dug up trenches in the green area to stop car-lifters from using its escape route out of the capital.
Similarly 32 vehicles and over 50 policemen on foot are patrolling the area of Shalimar and Margalla police stations, as the officer said the law enforcers are engaged in brief encounters with car-lifters every night for the last 45 days.
Taking advantage of the dark, he said the car-lifters still manage to escape, adding that the police should be provided night vision binoculars. He said jammers are easily available for Rs2,000 to Rs3,000 to block the GSM signals and making the tracking or security systems `useless`. He said the car-lifters with the help of jammers take two to three minutes to steal vehicles.