Chop shop fear in parts thefts

Townsville Bulletin - - NEWS - CHRIS MCMA­HON

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).”

Mike Abra­ham.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.