• 104 Suzuki cars, over 1,000 Honda motorcycles stolen since Jan this year
• Most cases reported in City Zone, which includes Aabpara, G-9, F-7 and other areas

ISLAMABAD: In the first five months of this year, as many as 254 automobiles and 1,675 motorbikes were either snatched or stolen from the federal capital, with Suzuki Mehran and Honda 125 being the most stolen four- and two-wheelers in the federal territory.

Police record shows that Suzuki, including 71 Mehran, was atop the list of stolen cars with 104 vehicles, followed by Toyota with 76, and 22 Honda cars. Besides these three companies, luxury vehicles, such as Mercedes, were also stolen by the criminals.

Police officials told Dawn that vehicles which were highly sought after in the black market were mostly stolen from the capital. It used to be Toyota but recent operations against car lifters have busted the gangs which used to target Toyota. Due to a decrease in the theft of Toyota cars, Suzuki has come to the top of the list. The Suzuki vehicles, particularly Mehran and Bolan vans, are transported to Kashmir and other mountainous regions after their theft.

Speaking about the theft of Toyota automobiles, the police said these vehicles were moved to Khyber Pakhtunkhwa because their ‘body style’ (ground clearance) was ideal for dilapidated roads in rural areas. Besides KP, some rural areas of Punjab also have a high demand for stolen Toyota cars.

The Honda vehicles are safe from thieves because of their ground clearance as there is not much vertical distance between the lowest point of the vehicle’s body and the base of the tyre, so it is not sought after in rural areas.

Similarly, Honda has a forensic lab in Lahore which makes it easier for law enforcement agencies to trace its first owner – a negative point in the black market. In such circumstances, Honda vehicles are either disassembled or resold after changing their engine and chassis number in urban areas, police officials said.

The ‘receivers’ (professionals who buy stolen cars) of Toyota cars allegedly operate from Dara Adam Khel and Landi Kotal. Besides Toyota, they also procure stolen Mehran and Alto cars, only new models though. According to officials, sometimes gangs use ‘professional drivers’ to transport stolen automobiles from Islamabad to Khyber Pakhtunkhwa for up to Rs20,000 each car.

The modus operandi of thieves is to steal a car, park it in a crowded area, such as hospitals and parking lots in commercial areas, and then transport it to other parts of the country after a few days when the heat is cooled off.

Likewise, 1,675 motorcycles were stolen during the first five months of the current year. Honda motorcycles made up the highest number of looted or stolen two-wheelers during the period.

Out of these, over 1,000 bikes were Honda-make: 642 were 125cc, 351 were CD-70, nine were Honda 100cc, and one was Honda 150cc. The United motorcycles made up the second-highest number of stolen motorbikes. Union Star, Hi-Speed, Yamaha, and Suzuki were also among the stolen motorbikes.

According to police, Honda 125cc is usually transported to Zhob in Balochistan from where they are moved to Afghanistan. However, motorcycles of other companies are usually dismantled and their spare parts are sold in the black market. Some of the stolen bikes are also used in criminal activities. According to police, they also bused a gang of drug dealers who were in the same business of stealing vehicles.

The data further revealed that during the first five months, 2,206 mobile phones were also either looted or stolen from the capital. Out of the total, iPhone made up the highest number of looted or stolen mobiles from the capital during the period, as criminals took away 404 such phones from the capital. The Samsung brand made up the second-highest number of looted mobile phones.

The majority of the stolen or snatched iPhones were smuggled to the neighbouring country and later transported to the Middle East. In the Gulf states, they are refurbished and sold across the region. The criminals sold the other brands’ mobiles to those who deal in the stolen mobiles, who with the assistance of hackers resell them after the software is reinstalled and the IEMI number is changed.

Published in Dawn, June 28th, 2024

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