Gang involved in theft of 67 cars busted in Karnataka, 4 arrested: Police
Bengaluru: With the arrest of four persons, the Bengaluru police on Tuesday claimed to have busted a gang of thieves allegedly involved in stealing 67 cars since March last year.
According to the police, the accused would approach vehicle owners to hire their cars on rent while pretending to be from a travel agency. While a senior officer said four people have been arrested so far in the case, police have not yet released any details about them as they suspect involvement of more individuals.
Police said the main accused in the case is the owner of a travel agency, who took the help of three others for scamming vehicle owners and selling stolen cars.
Deputy commissioner of police (DCP) North Division, Vinayak Patil, said the thefts began in March last year and the accused would offer up to ₹18,000 for each car as rent, which they paid for the first few months. “Once they convinced enough car owners, they began selling cars with a dealer in Andhra Pradesh and eventually closed their agency in October 2021,” said the officer.
The incident came to light in November last year when a case was registered, police said. A special team was formed to investigate the case, which was able to track the suspects and recovered 67 cars, the DCP said.
Among the 67 recovered vehicles, there were 12 Toyota Innova Crysta, five Toyota Innova, 10 Toyota Etios, 23 Maruti Suzuki Swift Dzire, four Mahindra Verito, one Tata Indigo, nine Hyundai Xcent, one Honda Amaze, one Mahindra Xylo and one Ford Figo.
“Documents of all the cars were forged and they were sold in Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu. There are more cars that are to be recovered and the process is ongoing,” Patil added.
There has been a spike in cases of thefts of automobiles in Bengaluru over the last six-eight months. According to the data released by the Bengaluru police, there were 4,126 motor vehicle thefts last year, of which only 915 were traced. The vehicle theft in 2020 was 3,797, of which 1,308 were detected, police data suggests.
In November last year, a Bengaluru police constable and his three associates were arrested for stealing two-wheelers in the city. The accused constable has been identified as Honnappa Duradappa Malagi, who is attached with Vidyaranyapura police station. He had recruited the associates for the crime, two of them were minors. The minors were working at a two-wheeler service station in Vidyaranyapura, police said.
The two minors allegedly stole vehicles from Nandini Layout, Vijayanagar, Gangamma Circle, Peenya, and other areas. After stealing the vehicles, they rode bikes to Vidyaranyapura’s residence and replaced defective parts.
The constable used online advertising platforms to find details of bikes on sale. They then replaced the number plates and sold them in the districts in north Karnataka, police said.
A complaint has been filed in this matter on October 29, when a bike was stolen from outside of a businessman’s house in Rajajinagar Industrial Town. Sanjeev M Patil, DCP (west) formed a special team to investigate the matter after which they learnt the role of a constable.