Registration numbers of condemned autorickshaws used for stolen vehicles

The Tirunagar police have busted a gang involved in stealing autorickshaws, arrested five persons, including a financier, and recovered five vehicles from them.

Following the theft of an autorickshaw at Harveypatti on November 8, Assistant Superintendent of Police (Tirupparankundram) V. Sasimohan ordered intensive vehicle checks in the sub-division. During one such check, the police found something odd with the registration number painted on one of the autorickshaws. They found discrepancies between the photocopy of the registration certificate showed by the autorickshaw driver and the engine number.

The driver, Ganesh Prabhu (27) of Avaniapuram, confessed to have stolen the autorickshaw. He also confessed that he had stolen five autorickshaws — three from Avaniapuram and one each from Harveypatti and Keeraithurai, Inspector of Police (Tirunagar) P. Palani said.

Prabhu used to target diesel autorickshaws of a particular brand parked in isolated areas and steal them. Explaining his modus operandi, Mr.Palani said, “This vehicle has no proper locking system. He used to push the vehicle to some distance before starting the engine. The engine of this type of autorickshaws are located on the rear side of the vehicle. It is started using a cord. This feature proved handy for the vehicle-lifter,” Mr.Palani said.

Prabhu used to give a new coat of paint to the vehicle and change its registration number. With the help of a broker, A. Nagaraj of Teppakulam, he managed to get photocopies of registration certificates of condemned autorickshaws from a financier, Uttham Chand of Tirunagar. The financier used to sell such photocopies of registration certificates for a few thousands. While the gang managed to erase the chassis number of the vehicle, it could not tamper with the engine number, the police said. The stolen vehicles were sold for a few thousands.

Others among the arrested are R. Murugan of Tirunagar and P. Pandiselvam of Avaniapuram.

The police said autorickshaw drivers were complacent about the safety of their vehicles. Many of them parked the vehicles on main roads away from their houses as the by-lanes in their areas were too narrow.

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