An operation by Flying Squad Unit has led to the arrest of two suspects linked to the theft of more than 30 cars.
The Flying Squad Unit Commander, Godwin Turamye, in collaboration with Criminal Investigation Directorate –CID launched a hunt after receiving over 20 complaints about car thefts whose modus operandi was almost similar. CID Spokesperson, Charles Twine, said almost in the complainants Hussein Kiseka and one Habibu were being mentioned.
Twine adds that FSU and CID decided to launch a hunt for the two suspects who have since been arrested. The duo has accomplices in areas of Kampala, Mbarara, Busia and Tororo.
During investigations, detectives noticed that Kiseka and Habibu have often hoodwinked unsuspecting Emcees at events to announce motor vehicles that have allegedly obstructed other drivers.
Police say when one owner rush removes their cars, thugs grab them without other people’s knowledge. The owner of the car is usually forced to drive it, sedated and dumped in isolated places.
“These men write cheats to Emcees to announce cars obstructing others. The Emcees are often innocent and unaware of the tricks. The unsuspecting driver rushes to remove his or her car and that is when they get grabbed by these thugs. This kind of trick is now becoming common,” Twine said.
Police records on motor vehicle thefts and robberies in the country show that on average 700 cars are stolen or robbed in Kampala alone each year. CID figures for 2019, 2018 and 2017 show a total of 2,413 vehicles were stolen in Kampala and its neighbouring districts of Wakiso and Mukono.
A Flying Squad operative said although Closed Circuit Television –CCTV cameras have contributed to the reduction of car robberies; the trend seems to be slowly rising again because thugs are now targeting big events in areas with no security cameras.
“Once a car is stolen, they quickly put a disguised number plate on it. This becomes difficult for CCTV cameras because they will record the fake number plate placed on it. It takes a lot of time and investigation to establish particulars of a car that has been altered,” a detective said.
Twine agrees with detectives that robbers have number plates of vehicles that were written off after they were involved in crashes. In one of the cases, Kiseka and Habibu were involved, a vehicle of model 2007 was found with several models of 1998.
In Kampala, the Southern regional policing area that covers Katwe, Nateete, Kajjansi, Entebbe records 250 cases of car thefts per year. This is followed by North that includes Kawempe, Nabweru, Nansana, Kakiri with at least 230 cases every whereas Kampala East that includes Jinja Road, Kiira Division, Kireka, Bweyogerere, Mukono, Naggalama registers 190 on average.