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13 February 2011 | India

After lying low, vehicle lifter gangs regrouping?

VARANASI: Is it that after lying low for three years, the vehicle lifter gangs are again becoming active in the city?

The police records show a decline in vehicle lifting cases in the last three years. As many as 591 vehicles were lifted from different localities falling under 15 police station areas of the city in 2008.

In 2009, the police recorded 355 cases of vehicle thefts. And in 2010, the figure further dipped to 286. However, the cases registered only in January last indicate that the vehicle lifters have become active again in the city as 32 vehicles were lifted in the first 31 days of this year.

SP (city) Vijay Bhushan said, "The efforts made in the past years have yielded positive results as the police have been able to curb the menace of organised vehicle-lifter gangs in the city."

He said, "But now the entry of new gangs is increasing the problems for the cops."

Bhushan said that almost 40% cases of vehicle lifting have been worked out.

"But in most cases, mainly the buyers of stolen vehicles have been caught. The investigations have thrown up disturbing revelations as it has been found that students and youths from reputed families are indulging in vehicle lifting and buying," Bhushan said.

The number of professional criminals in this crime has reduced, he said. Only 10% to 15% professional vehicle lifters are active in the city areas, he added.

The trend of selling stolen vehicles has also changed now.

Earlier, the lifters used to send the stolen vehicles to the adjoining states like Bihar and Jharkhand where the vehicles were sold after changing the registration, engine and chassis numbers.

But now, Bhushan said, most of the two wheelers stolen from city areas are being sold locally only by removing the number plates.

He said that when the police arrested some buyers of the stolen vehicles in past months, it came to light that a motorcycle available in the market for over Rs 40,000 is sold for Rs 5,000 - Rs 10,000 without providing registration papers and other documents.

The youths who bought the motorcycles from vehicle lifters did not have the capacity to buy new vehicles but they wanted to own latest models of the bikes, he added.

Source: Times of India