During this weekend the South African Police Service conducted intelligence-driven disruptive operations in all nine provinces in an effort to fight back against the scourge car theft and hi-jacking.
In a multidisciplinary approach members from our Crime Intelligence Unit, the Flying Squad, Dog Unit, Detectives and The Vehicle Investigation Services (VIS) targeted “backyard” panelbeaters, chop shops, tow-truck operators and mechanical shops. Some of the panelbeaters operated from established businesses while others literally operated from backyards of their houses where, at times, stolen and hi-jacked vehicles end up being dismantled and sold for spares or its identity is changed / cloned.
While focusing on our borders to ensure that stolen and hi-jacked vehicles are not taken out of our country it is imperative that holes, where there may be other potential ways of disposing of these vehicles such as the “backyard” businesses, are plugged.
This is neither the first operation of this kind nor is it the last. Our message to wrongdoers is that these operations will continue on a regular basis to monitor illegal activities and to ensure that the space and the opportunity for criminals to operate in become non-existent.
Labelled Operation Tornado, we have already arrested at least 28 suspects around the country. We have also seized vehicles, engines, gear boxes, other vehicle spare parts and even guns during the operation. In one province police uniforms, which we believe may have been used to impersonate police officers during hijackings, were recovered.
Our primary objective of this operation is to disrupt the market for stolen and hijacked vehicles. In doing so, we require the help of communities. We appeal to every South African to continue being our eyes and ears and people may call our toll free Crime Stop number 086 00 10111 with information. All information will be treated with strictest confidence.