26 suspected car thieves held, eight cars recovered

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The Crime Intelligence Directorate last evening recovered at least eight stolen cars and arrested 26 suspects after two weeks surveillance.

The cars were stolen from different parts of the city and hidden in different guest houses in Kampala and Mukono districts. In Kampala, most of the stolen cars were recovered from private parking yards in Kabalagala, Katwe and Kawempe.

Kampala Metropolitan Police spokesman Emilian Kayima told Daily Monitor that most of the suspects were arrested in the city suburbs of Katwe and Kabalagala.

“They have been stealing cars from parking yards and hiding them in guest houses and hotels as they wait for police officers and owners to give up on the search,” Mr Kayima said.

According to police authorities, theft of motor vehicles has reached alarming levels, with nearly five cars stolen daily.

Many of the stolen cars are sold in neighbouring DR Congo and South Sudan. Some vehicles are dismantled and sold as scrap. Most vehicles targeted are of Toyota brand.

Mr Kayima said the thieves use master keys and a screw-like object to open door locks as well as ignite many Japanese made cars. Intelligence officers said each car theft is usually done by a group of not less than 12 people.

“We have arrested people who carry out the different roles from the spotters, those who open the cars, the drivers, dealers and those who buy the stolen cars and sell them out of the country. We shall be able to understand how they do it so that we can improve on our security,” Mr Kayima said.

The recent crime and traffic safety report of 2014 shows that a total of 1,463 cars were stolen in one year alone, but police investigated only 641 theft cases. It’s not clear how many vehicles were recovered by police.

Police sources say statistics of car thefts of 2015 and 2016 indicated the same trend.

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