Man tracks down stolen van with help of Face­book

Cynon Valley - - YOUR NEWS - PHILIP DEWEY philip.dewey@waleson­line.com

A BUSI­NESS owner whose van was stolen by thieves claimed the way the po­lice in­ves­ti­gated the crime was “dis­grace­ful” af­ter he was forced to find the ve­hi­cle him­self us­ing so­cial me­dia.

To­mos Owen, 34, was stay­ing at his part­ner Ka­rina KiKi Tsoi’s home in Cardiff on Tues­day evening but he was wo­ken the next morn­ing to say there had been fraud­u­lent ac­tiv­ity on his debit card.

When he went out­side the house he re­alised Ms Tsoi’s car had been bro­ken into, the spare key to his van had been taken, and the van was gone.

Mr Owen con­tacted po­lice and was told of­fi­cers would come out to see him.

He said: “I run a knife sharp­en­ing busi­ness. My stuff is quite spe­cific to my job. I can only imag­ine they thought my van was full of knives but that’s not the case.

“The po­lice took three to four hours to come out and they said there wasn’t much they could do so we started look­ing for the van our­selves.”

Us­ing in­for­ma­tion pro­vided by his bank Mr Owen dis­cov­ered that his card had been used in a num­ber of lo­ca­tions in the city. Af­ter con­tact­ing these busi­nesses Mr Owen took to Face­book and posted pho­tos of his van and the fact it was stolen to a num­ber of groups re­lat­ing to Cardiff. He said: “Peo­ple said they had seen the van be­ing driven out­side their house or down the street.

“I con­tacted the po­lice again and they said the case had not been al­lo­cated an of­fi­cer yet. I felt the po­lice were do­ing noth­ing to help. The im­pli­ca­tions were quite se­ri­ous be­cause I was look­ing at be­ing put out of busi­ness.”

Mr Owen re­turned to his home in the Cynon Val­ley for the evening but was con­tacted by a woman from Cardiff who said his van was parked out­side her flat.

He said: “I phoned 101 and told the po­lice the van was out­side some­one’s house and would they be able to go out and see to it.

“They told me they were not go­ing to send a po­lice of­fi­cer ‘on a whim’ and I thought at this point, ‘What have I got to do to get as­sis­tance?’

“They told me not to go there but I couldn’t stay there and do noth­ing.

“I went down to Cardiff and lo and be­hold my van was there where the lady said. I phoned the po­lice and at that point I was feel­ing para­noid be­cause I didn’t know what would hap­pen if I bumped into the thieves. The po­lice said they would make the case their pri­or­ity and would send of­fi­cers there straight away.

“I waited there for an hour and a friend turned up as well. The thieves had trashed the back of my van, taken ev­ery­thing out of there, and it looked as though they had taken it for a good joyride.

“I waited an­other hour and the of­fi­cers said they were busy and asked if I could move the van. Since then here has been no com­mu­ni­ca­tion from the po­lice.”

Mr Owen said he was dis­ap­pointed at the way South Wales Po­lice had han­dled the case and he would be mak­ing an of­fi­cial com­plaint.

He added: “Face­book and the good peo­ple of Cardiff have helped me re­lo­cate my van. I am just a nor­mal per­son and I have been able to track down my van and take it back my­self be­fore they were able to. What were the po­lice do­ing? I think it’s dis­grace­ful how they have han­dled the case and I will be mak­ing a for­mal com­plaint.

“So­cial me­dia is do­ing a bet­ter job than the po­lice and I don’t think it’s right. They should be held ac­count­able for that. If I waited for the po­lice I would never have had my van back.”

A spokesman from South Wales Po­lice said: “A crime scene in­ves­ti­ga­tor (CSI) at­tended the bro­ken-in car as soon as they could. A CSI was then been de­ployed to ex­am­ine the re­cov­ered van.

“Any­one with in­for­ma­tion should call 101 or Crimestop­pers on 0800 555 111 quot­ing ref no 17000424661.”

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