PARKED CLASSICS ‘EASY TARGETS’ FOR PARTS THEFT
Organised criminals aren’t just after your cars – they’re after the components, too
Teams of organised and skilled career criminals are starting to steal components off cars while parked on your drives and in garages.
Criminology experts are now warning classic owners that crooks, orchestrated by top crime lords, are becoming more cunning in their understanding of classic cars following an outbreak of parts stolen from vehicles.
The police have admitted that classics offer a tempting package for thieves, as they are packed with high-value items that are easy to remove and steal. Doors, seats and catalytic converters are high on thieves’ shopping lists.
Former Stolen Vehicle Squad boss of the Met Police Dr Ken German warns: ‘Criminal gangs are stealing parts to order, and classic cars are high value, and are easy to steal from. Chassis and engines are numbered, but virtually nothing else is.’
Criminology experts are warning that car crooks are becoming more mechanically knowledgeable after an outbreak of classic parts were stolen from vehicles – while still on the owners’ drives.
Skilled criminals have started taking components off cars in situ, according to former Stolen Vehicle Squad boss Dr Ken German. Now communications director of The International Association of Auto Theft Investigators, he says: ‘Gangs are stealing parts to order, and classics are high value, and are easy to steal from. Chassis and engines are numbered, but virtually nothing else is. Things like rear tailgates, wheels, trim, bonnets, catalytic converters and seats are the most easily stolen items.’
Recent examples include thefts in Lincolnshire from 30 April- 2 May. The doors and seats of a Land Rover were stolen while in situ, and a hard top removed from another Land Rover. Dr German urges classic owners to mark up their vehicles’ components. ‘If there are no identifying marks on a part, it’s nearly impossible to get it back,’ he says.
Property marking forensic coding can help reduce thefts and is backed by the Met Police. One supplier, SelectaDNA, has a specifically tailored classic car kit. Millie Quickenden, marketing manager says: ‘It contains dots that are visible in UV light, and each one is unique. If the part is recovered, the police can trace it back to you via a database.’