‘Key­less tech­nol­ogy’ used to steal pres­tige cars

Harefield Gazette - - NEWS -

THE tac­tics used by two pro­lific west Lon­don car thieves – who stole more than 30 ve­hi­cles worth in ex­cess of £1 mil­lion – have been re­vealed.

Tariq El­gzaly and Hakim Aziz worked to­gether to tar­get cars left parked on streets overnight.

Po­lice worked out they were in­volved in more than 30 of­fences be­tween Jan­uary 2015 and De­cem­ber 2017.

El­gzaly, 36, was jailed for six years at Kingston Crown Court on Tues­day Novem­ber 26. Aziz, his 30-year-old ac­com­plice, was given a sen­tence of four years and four months.

But how did they get away with steal­ing so many ve­hi­cles, worth more than £1 mil­lion in to­tal?

The pair used key pro­gram­ming tech­nol­ogy – of­ten re­ferred to as “key­less car theft” – to steal pres­tige ve­hi­cles such as Range Rovers, BMWs and Jaguars.

Once stolen, the cars were ei­ther sold for ex­port or to other crim­i­nals af­ter they dis­guised the iden­tity with false plates.

El­gzaly and Aziz did not just steal the cars by tak­ing ad­van­tage of mod­ern key sys­tems, they also made the fake plates to make sure they could sell the ve­hi­cles.

On Wed­nes­day De­cem­ber 6, 2017, in­ves­ti­gat­ing of­fi­cers from the Metropoli­tan Po­lice’s or­gan­ised ve­hi­cle crime unit ex­e­cuted a se­ries of search war­rants.

The first was at an ad­dress in Gunter Grove, Chelsea, where ring­leader Tarik El­ga­zly was stay­ing.

‘Blank’ ve­hi­cle keys were seized and de­vices used to block the sig­nal of track­ing de­vices fit­ted to ve­hi­cles.

A search also took place at a flat in Lonsdale Road, Not­ting Hill, where El­ga­zly had been ob­served with the stolen ve­hi­cles.

A cup­board con­tain­ing equip­ment needed to steal a ve­hi­cle and change its iden­tity was dis­cov­ered.

This in­cluded a lap­top, forged log­books, tools re­quired to man­u­fac­ture num­ber plates and de­vices used to pro­gramme new keys for ve­hi­cles.

On the same date, po­lice searched Aziz’s ad­dress, in Suther­land Av­enue, Maida Vale. Five blank’ ve­hi­cle keys were re­cov­ered.

Fol­low­ing the searches, both El­ga­zly and Aziz was ar­rested on sus­pi­cion of con­spir­acy to steal and con­spir­acy to con­vert crim­i­nal prop­erty.

Foren­sic anal­y­sis of the lap­top seized re­vealed that it has been used to man­u­fac­ture 172 sets of false num­ber plates.

Po­lice en­quiries iden­ti­fied that 29 of these had been ap­plied to stolen ve­hi­cles, amount­ing to a value of ap­prox­i­mately £1.25m. The court heard all the plates were likely to have been used on stolen ve­hi­cles, in­creas­ing the po­ten­tial to­tal value of the ve­hi­cles stolen to more than £6m.

Both men were charged on De­cem­ber 6 2017. They were re­manded to ap­pear in cus­tody at South­wark Crown Court where they pleaded guilty to con­spir­acy to con­vert crim­i­nal prop­erty.

The count of con­spir­acy to steal was left on file.

De­tec­tive Sergeant Pete El­lis, who led the in­ves­ti­ga­tion, said: “This was an ex­tremely pro­lific and wellor­gan­ised crim­i­nal op­er­a­tion.

“The ev­i­dence gath­ered by my team dur­ing the op­er­a­tion linked the duo to a sub­stan­tial num­ber of of­fences. It be­came clear from the ma­te­rial on the lap­top that the true num­ber of stolen ve­hi­cles in­volved was very sig­nif­i­cant.

“Both men had been ac­tive steal­ing high-end cars for an ex­tended pe­riod of time prior to our in­ter­ven­tion.

“I hope to­day’s sen­tence serves as a de­ter­rent to those in­volved in this type of brazen crim­i­nal­ity and re­minds them that we will not stop bring­ing those re­spon­si­ble to jus­tice.”

It be­came clear from the ma­te­rial on the lap­top that the true num­ber of stolen ve­hi­cles was very sig­nif­i­cant

Hakim Aziz and Tariq El­gzaly

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