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Maruti cars were soft target for this ‘Dhoom’- inspired thief

Police officials said that the thief learnt the decoding of security system of Maruti cars from YouTube.

punjab Updated: Mar 25, 2018 19:26 IST
Parampreet Singh Narula
Parampreet Singh Narula
Hindustan Times, Jalandhar
Illustration by Daljeet kaur Sandhu

It was the passion to get a ‘thrill’ in life that pushed 40-year-old Shabeer Ahmed, a resident of Kulgam district in Kashmir, who was arrested by the Jalandhar commissionerate police on Tuesday, into the world of crime.

During interrogation, Shabeer told the police that he was inspired by the Bollywood film “Dhoom” and indulged in stealing cars for ‘adventure’. He, along with his associates, used to steal cars from Punjab and sell them at throwaway prices in terrorist-affected areas of Kashmir.

Shabeer Ahmed is a graduate and owns 50-canal apple orchards. He was a contractor by profession and was earning over Rs 15 lakh annually.

Maruti cars easy target for Shabeer

Shabeer said that he came into contact with a car thief Fayaz, a resident of Uri district in Kashmir, who taught him the art of stealing cars.

ACP Navneet Singh Mahal said that Shabeer always preferred to steal Maruti brand cars as he knew the technique to decode the security system of these cars. “The cars, including Swift, Swift Dzire, Ertiga and Alto were the easy targets for him as these cars don’t have a foolproof security system,” he said. In six months, Shabeer had stolen over 11 cars from Punjab.

Data procured from the commissionerate police revealed that of the total 44 cars stolen in from January 1, 2017 till now, 17 cars were Maruti Swift, eight Maruti Alto, four Maruti 800, three Maruti Ertiga and two Maruti Zen taking the number to 34. While remaining ten cars are of other brands.

“Stealing Maruti car is easy as compared to other cars, which are difficult to be decoded,” police officials said.

Modus Operandi

Police officials said that Shabeer learnt the decoding of security system of Maruti cars from YouTube, where all the information about controlling the engine control module and key programming is described.

As per the method, being used by most of the thieves to steal the cars, a person first opens the door lock using a wire by breaking the glass and then he immediately disables the siren system by disconnecting the wires lying near the dashboard of the car.

“Using the key programmer device, easily available in market, thieves decode the transponder chip fitted in the car key and can easily start the vehicle using ready keys or making duplicate keys,” ACP Mahal said.

A transponder is a chip, which becomes mandatory for every car manufacturer to fit into the car key which disarms a vehicle immobiliser when the car key is used to start the engine.

Police officials said that making a duplicate key is the most time-consuming process while thieves extract the key module to start the engine and use screwdriver to take away the car in 15 minutes.

“The gang used to prepare a fake registration certificate (RC) and two number plates, which they put on the car to give a slip to the police,” police officials said.

The accused used to sell the stolen cars in terrorist-affected areas, including Kulgam, Anantnag and other cities of South Kashmir. He would sell a one-year-old Swift car at a price of around Rs 60,000.

Praveen Kumar Sinha, commissioner of police (CP), Jalandhar, said that the Maruti company needs to review the security system of their cars as it took less than 30 minutes to decode the car’s security system.

“If they (Maruti representatives) want, we can give a demo of how thieves are stealing their vehicles,” CP Sinha said.

First Published: Mar 25, 2018 19:14 IST