The Telegraph
Thursday , November 29 , 2012
Since 1st March, 1999
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Gone in 60 seconds without gizmo

Nov. 28: The theft of two Boleros this week and the subsequent arrest of four members of a “new gang” has once again brought to light that criminals continue to target vehicles without high security anti-theft devices.

Police and automobile dealers here said investigations into vehicle theft cases have revealed that criminal gangs manage to bypass many security systems in minutes. The gangs then take the vehicles for sale in the neighbouring states of Manipur and Nagaland, where there is a huge demand of Boleros owing to the hilly terrain.

The engine immobiliser, however, has been found to be the most effective device. But there are hundreds of cars plying on Guwahati streets without the device, leaving them vulnerable to the “smart gang” of criminals.

An official of city police (crime branch) told The Telegraph that thieves managed to lift the two Boleros from Dispur and Paltan Bazar on Sunday because they were not equipped with immobilisers.

“Boleros are the main targets of car thieves but our regular drives had almost stopped the thefts. After a long gap, a new gang stole two cars but we managed to arrest four criminals and seize one car. The thieves, however, were unable to bypass the engine immobiliser system,” the official said.

The police yesterday arrested the accused — Raju Shah of Srirampur in Kokrajhar district, Sabbir Ahmed Choudhury of Meerut (Uttar Pradesh), Yunus Sumi of Dimapur in Nagaland and Wasim Ahmed Khan of Karimganj. On Sunday, they had allegedly stolen a Bolero belonging to a person from Golaghat, who had parked his car in front of a hotel at Paltan Bazar. Another Bolero was stolen from Khanapara, which the police are yet to trace.

“This is a new gang and Sabbir and Wasim are experts in breaking locks. They can break a car door in minutes and start them by connecting wires to start the engine,” senior superintendent of police (city), Anand Prakash Tiwari, said.

Subhankar Chakraborty, sales manger of the Mahindra showroom Industrial and Farm Equipment, said they started selling models equipped with engine immobilisers from October last year but those manufactured prior to the period were targeted by criminals. “The immobiliser is fitted during manufacturing and it is not possible to fit the system into our old models. People can use devices like engine lock or gear lock. Although these devices are not foolproof, they provide ample protection,” he said.

Criminals also change numberplates of stolen cars, tempering engine and chassis number before taking them out using fake documents.