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Motor Insurance
Thursday, November 1, 2007
Home chops

Tracker and Western Cape police recently discovered what officials believe may well be South Africa’s first vehicle chop shop disguised as a house.
The discovery occurred after Tracker personnel and the SAPS Cape Town Dog Unit tracked a vehicle that had been hijacked from Nyanga. After realising the signal for the stolen vehicle was actually coming from inside a nearby dwelling, they investigated further and discovered that the informal house was merely a shell allegedly used to conceal a thriving chop shop.
Both the Tracker vehicle and another Light Delivery Vehicle (LDV) as well as numerous spare parts worth approximately R300 000 were recovered from the scene.
“The informal house looks like many other in the area. It has a dilapidated fence and overgrown garden in front and even has a door and windows facing the road,” explains Tracker’s Communications Manager, Gareth Crocker.
“In fact, the guys were quite clever in so far as the house has no front gate or driveway area where a vehicle could be driven into, thus further diverting attention away from them. However, it appears that when they wanted to drive a vehicle into the property, they would simply pull out the poles supporting the rickety fence, lay it down and drive inside. They would then seemingly disconnect the large zinc panels that make up the front of the ‘house’ and simply drive the vehicle inside before quickly reassembling the structure.”
The house has no rooms or dividing walls inside, but consists only of an open work area for vehicles to be stripped.
The incident follows Tracker’s recent discovery of another possible first for South Africa: a mobile chop shop in Soweto. “Several weeks ago, our recovery crews tracked a vehicle to Soweto where, after pulling over a large truck, discovered a team of men inside the cargohold busy stripping the stolen vehicle,” says Mr Crocker.
Over the years, Tracker’s technology has recovered vehicles from a number of interesting sites and settings such as large shipping containers, subterranean parking areas, wrapped in tinfoil, alongside large power stations, underground (in a crudely dug hole) and once, even under water.

Copyright © Insurance Times and Investments® Vol:20.10 1st November, 2007
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