Gang targets motorbikes

2016-11-17 09:57
Hot spots for motorbike theft.

Hot spots for motorbike theft. (Graphics24)

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Motorbike owners beware — a cross-border criminal syndicate is operating in Pietermaritzburg and its target of choice is high-end road bikes.

The Witness can reveal that a criminal syndicate comprised of foreign nationals has allegedly stolen about six motorbikes from various suburbs in the city.

Officers from the police’s Crime Intelligence unit and property investigators have been tasked with holding sting operations in an attempt to nab the gang.

Pietermaritzburg police spokesperson Captain Gay Ebrahim said the police are currently aware of six incidents where the gang has struck.

According to their information, the gang began stealing motorbikes in October and most commonly operates between 6 am and 6 pm from Friday through to Sunday.

Ebrahim said Northdale, Eastwood and Mountain Rise are the three current hot spot areas in the Mountain Rise police precinct’s jurisdiction.

uMgungundlovu South police spokesperson Sergeant Mthokozisi Ngobese said there are no reported cases in his cluster, which includes the CBD and surrounding suburbs.

It is believed the gang members have a specific modus operandi.

It is alleged they gain entrance into properties where motorbikes are mostly visible and roll the bikes out of the driveways without starting them.

It is unclear how the bikes are transported, but it is believed they are taken to a location where they are stripped before the parts are packed into a truck destined for Malawi.

Ebrahim said three suspects were arrested and are currently being investigated for their links to other cases.

“In addition to that, one motorbike was recovered just before it could be stripped. There is a second group from the same syndicate that is still operating in our area and neighbouring stations,” Ebrahim said.

“The police’s Crime Intelligence unit is currently following up on information. Anyone with positive information may contact Captain Rumen Maistry from the uMgungundlovu North Crime Intelligence unit at 082 568 5090 or 083 636 0909.”

A police source told The Witness that, on a monthly basis, the gang packages the stripped motorbikes parts into a delivery truck that makes its way across the border.

The source said officers traced the gang to a property in Timlas Road, which houses foreign nationals in sub-divided units. The truck that the gang uses is apparently parked in a vacant plot behind the property.

“The property is centrally located to the areas where these crimes are being committed, making a quick getaway easier,” the source said.

One Pietermaritzburg resident who had his motorbike stolen said he knew of two other incidents in the Allandale area.

The Beacon Hill Estate resident, Peekay Kheyali, said his Honda CB600F Hornet motorbike was stolen less than a month ago.

“The bike was taken from our carport late one night. We assume it was pushed off because we did not hear it start,” Kheyali said.

“It appears that the thieves cut a hole in the fence of the gated estate and escaped.

“I just want to warn other motorbike owners.”

Safety advisor for the “100’s Riders” motorbike club Adrian Bloem offered tips to motorbike owners in securing their vehicles.

Bloem said road bikes have a steering lock feature that is mobilised when the steering is turned fully to the left once the key has been taken out the ignition.

“I advise owners to leave the steering locked when the bike is not in use. If your bike does not have a steering lock, like many off-road bikes, you can purchase or construct your own wheel clamp with a lock,” Bloem said.

“The steering lock will make it difficult to remove the bike, unless it is carried away.

“Harley Davidson has also developed an alarm system for motorbikes that they will fit to any new model bike purchased,” Bloem said.

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg

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