Police have revealed that the rampant car thefts and robberies in the country have partly been aided by businessmen who deal in scrap cars within and out of Kampala city.
Addressing the security press briefing, Police spokesperson Fred Enanga said that the department of crime intelligence has established that some unscrupulous car dealers abet car thefts and robberies in the country.
He said that the dealers sell number plates of cars that were written off due to accidents or those in dangerous mechanical condition which are then dismantled into scrap.
“We wish to send a very serious warning to proprietors to garages, actively involved in the buying of number plates of accident vehicles that are written off or number plates from car-shop dealers and sell them to criminal gangs behind motor vehicle theft,” Enanga said.
He told the press that the number plates costs from shs 400,000 onwards before warning them to handover such number plates to URA.
According to Enanga, the directorate of Crime Intelligence in coordination with Crime Intelligence Mukono and the Territorial Police in Mbale,carried out an intelligence led operation, that led to the arrest of two prime suspects, who form part of the criminal racket, actively involved in the theft and robbery of motor vehicles.
This criminal gang reportedly steal cars from parking lots, streets, functions like funerals and parties, places of worship, bars and clubs.
Following a car robbery in Mukono last month, Enanga said that police set up a task team to track down the suspects and initially they arrested one suspect called Hassan Nsubuga Mukwaya from Wobulenzi.
He led the task team to the arrest of another one identified as Alex Musisi alias Mark Butyampa, of Bulijjo village, Kiyunga Parish, Kyampisi sub-county in Mukono district.
“The suspected stolen motor vehicle was recovered from Wobulenzi with a forged number plate UAM933G, after the original number plate UAP 778G was removed,” said Enanga.
The fake number plates are those suspected to be sold by scrap dealers.
Upon further interrogation, police discovered that the suspects were among a bigger criminal gang behind motor vehicle thefts and robberies in Kampala, Mukono, Luwero and other parts of the country.
It is said that they confessed to change the original plates with cloned number plates ( a process they call baptizing) and sell the stolen cars to a one Kisule Juma alias Jajja Mbale alias Muwada Juma alias Walusimbi Juma alias Wambedde.
Th operation was expanded to Mbale with the help of the two suspects and led to the recovery of 16 motor vehicles in total, that are suspected stolen, from different parts of the country.
The vehicles were transferred to crime intelligence offices in Bukoto and police is calling whoever has lost a car in the recent past to go and view them.
Meanwhile, the police spokesperson said that the task team is arranging to submit the engine numbers, chassis numbers and recovered number plates to URA for further verification and details of ownership.
“The arrest of the two prime suspects demonstrates our resolve and commitment to fight motor vehicle theft and robberies in the country,” he said as a serious manhunt for the other accomplices is still ongoing.