Hi-tech car theft syndicate crippled
KOTA KINABALU: A car theft syndicate using a special electronic gadget to disarm the alarm system and activate the engine of a vehicle has been stopped in its tracks by the police here.
Four members of the syndicate, which started their operation early this month, have been arrested, said State Commissioner of Police, Datuk Omar Mammah, yesterday.
The arrests were made between May 19 to May 24, he said, adding that police are now on the hunt for the fifth member of the syndicate, identified as Tommy, 34, who is still at large.
Speaking to reporters on Monday, Omar said that with the special gadget, the syndicate is able to steal a vehicle within three minutes.
Their target vehicles are usually four wheel drives and SUVs, he said, adding that the theft of a Honda HRV car from the Sabah Women and Children Hospital in Likas on May 16 led to the arrest of the car thieves.
“The first member of the syndicate was arrested on May 19 and he led police to the other members of the syndicate. With their arrests, we found out that the group had been involved in the theft of 11 vehicles since early this month.
“This is a first for Sabah where an electronic gadget is used to hack into a vehicle’s alarm system to disarm it,” Omar pointed out.
According to him, five of the stolen vehicles have been located, including three which are now in Sarawak and will be transferred back to Sabah.
He believes that they may be able to trace the remaining six missing vehicles with the arrest of the fifth member of the syndicate.
Omar said that the suspects arrested were aged between 32 and 40 years old, and three of them are from Peninsular Malaysia. Three of the suspects also had previous convictions, including car theft.
Also present at the press conference were Kota Kinabalu police chief, ACP Habibi Majinji, and state CID chief, SAC Jauteh Dikun.