While officers of the Central Detective Unit (CDU) are reporting a significant decrease in stolen car cases this year, CDU officers are now on to a new car fraud scheme.
It appears some people are setting their cars up to be stolen to cash in on their insurance, according to senior police officers.
Second in Charge of CDU Assistant Superintendent (ASP) Edward Demeritte told the Bahama Journal Friday that because the decrease in stolen car cases is due in part to the fact that they’ve been able to pin point and crack down on the greatest hot spot area which the police force has identified as South-western New Providence.
And while police seem to be getting things under control in this regard, ASP Marcus Edgecombe says they’re now onto a new car fraud scheme, where car owners are reportedly setting their cars up to be stolen in order to cash in on their insurance.
“From our investigations and our intelligence, we have found that some of the people, who report their cars stolen, assist in having the cars stolen to gain insurance. It all amounts to insurance fraud which is against the law. If you are caught, you will be prosecuted. This is something that has been going on for years. This is nothing new,” ASP Edgecombe said.
Officer in Charge of the Stolen Vehicle Section at CDU Inspector Frederick Taylor said every instance is properly investigated.
“When we find that a vehicle has been stolen or stripped, and we know it’s not a vehicle that is easily stolen, we run a proper investigation. When we find the persons responsible, a number of times the criminals claimed they were paid off,” said Inspector Taylor.
And if you’re in the market for a used vehicle, another trend the CDU has also picked up on, according to Inspector Taylor, is that some used car dealers are selling stolen cars, leaving the unsuspecting buyer out of thousands of dollars and answerable to the police.
But a new Police Check Form (PCF) issued by the CDU can help avoid all that.
“The form has the vehicle identification number (VIN), the vehicle make, model, colour and year. The form is checked by two officers to double check and to ensure that the car is not stolen. And we work closely with the Road Traffic Department to crack down on this.”
And according to Inspector Taylor, an estimated 30 used cars have been found to be stolen since the beginning of this year.
Members of the public are also being advised not to accept PCF’s from persons trying to sell a used car because sometimes the documents are fraudulent.
“Sometimes you will see in the classifieds packaged deals inclusive of car licensing and insurance. But we are advising motorists not to buy into these deals because people are forging insurance certificates, the CDU PCF and other government documents,” ASP Edgecombe said.
He continued, “If you are buying a used car, it is best you bring it in to the CDU with the owner to check that it is not stolen. Because if someone comes in with a car that is found to be stolen, they will lose the car, the money they invested and they will be arrested for questioning.”
Statistics show that most car thefts happen between the hours of 8pm and 6am, hence, officers are advising car owners to ensure their vehicles are parked in clear view.
Additionally, officers are advising motorists to purchase whatever security mechanisms might be necessary to safeguard against theft like a wheel lock or an alarm system.
Officers are also suggesting motorists take any valuable belongings that may attract car thieves along with them when they leave their car.