A gang of car thieves has been running a thriving business selling stolen vehicles, especially private cars, in Chittagong using the documents of gutted and damaged motor vehicles.
The criminals first collect the documents of out of commission vehicles. Then, some others from the same ring steal new vehicles and replace the serial numbers on chassis and engine with those of the worn-out vehicles.
Finally, they sell the stolen vehicles using the documents of the damaged ones.
The gang was identified after the Detective Branch (DB) of the police recovered three private cars and five microbuses which had been stolen earlier.
A thorough investigation led to the discovery of the newer form of crime.
AAM Humayun Kabir, additional deputy commissioner of DB under Chittagong Metropolitan Police, said: “Because of the new method of theft, we had been failing to recover the stolen cars despite receiving complaints.”
“A special team of DB, formed to deal with the matter, arrested four members of the crime racket. We finally learned about the process they use after interrogating them,” he said.
Police are trying to arrest the other members of the gang which may have up to 15 members, he added.
“Some of them [car thieves] have their own motor garage where they change the number on the chassis and the colour and body of the stolen vehicles. The rest collect and then sell those,” he said.
The gang leader is Md Mintu, a resident of the port city’s Jamal Khan area. His associate, Md Rashedul Alam, hailing from the district’s Patiya upazila, is mainly responsible for collecting chassis and necessary papers for the cars, which are heavily damaged in road crashes in other parts of the country.
Another important member of the group is Liton Sen, a skilled mechanic.
He actually alters the chassis number and erases the engine number of the stolen cars.
They eventually sell these cars to buyers with the help of Md Salah Uddin and Md Nur Alam, both residents of Cox’s Bazar.
The article was first published on Bangla Tribune.