Chop shop fear in parts thefts
THERE are fears a car black market or underground chop shop is operating in Townsville with a local wrecker robbed of close to $ 30,000 worth of stock in the last six months.
Police aren’t ruling out an organised group of thieves targeting wreckers and stealing cars, then selling off parts on social media or through a car parts black market.
Townsville Police Station officer- in- charge acting Senior Sergeant Craig Robertson said it was unfortunate local business were feeling the brunt of callous thieves.
“This could be a lucrative black market ... it could be quite financial and ( the thieves could be) getting good gains out of this,” he said. “We can assume it might not be juveniles that are involved in this.”
Owner of Partington 4WD Wreckers, Mike Abraham, said he believed thieves who have targeted his business during the last six months must be an organised group due to the frequency of break- ins.
“It is getting to a point that it is affecting our ability to operate as a business; we’ve lost at least $ 30,000 in the last six months,” Mr Abraham said.
“I’ve been in the industry 30 years and the last 12 months are the worst I’ve seen it and one thing I have seen is a lot of expensive 4WDs just go missing; these aren’t joy- riders, something is going on and they just disappear.
“If you get a Nissan Patrol utility that’s worth maybe $ 12,000 and if you dismantle it and sell the parts, even selling them cheap online, it is a lucrative market and if they don’t sell an engine that’s got a traceable figure, it’s virtually impossible to detect.”
Mr Abraham said the business would often have people coming in during working hours to case the area for parts to steal.
“Occasionally we will get a car acting suspiciously down a side street ... a lot of times, I believe it is people who have come in, seen the parts and come back that night,” he said.
“It is virtually undetectable; police can’t monitor every single item that is being sold ( through social media).”