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Crime Stoppers SA launches campaign to put the brakes on professional vehicle thieves

Posted on 14/04/2015

A state-wide campaign, which sees the vehicle industry teaming up with Crime Stoppers SA and SA Police, will target thieves who steal vehicles for scrap or parts.

Crime Stoppers SA Chairperson, Ms Sharon Hanlon, said the campaign has been developed in partnership with the National Motor Vehicle Theft Reduction Council and SA Police, and culminates in a dedicated phone-in day on Wednesday 15 April 2015 where callers can help put the brakes on thieves.

“Profit-motivated vehicle thefts affect hundreds of South Australians every year, and while it is great to see theft numbers slowly declining and new technologies being introduced to make it harder for thieves, it is important to remain vigilant,” Ms Hanlon said.

“In 2014 there were more than 600 vehicles in South Australia that were believed stolen and converted to profit through rebirthing, sale of parts or scrap metal – and many of these vehicles were never recovered and thieves never caught,” she said.

“Organised crime groups are profiting at the community’s expense by stealing vehicles of all value and types, and this campaign offers an opportunity for people to provide information about those involved in profit motivated vehicle theft activity.”

The Executive Director of the National Motor Vehicle Theft Reduction Council, Mr Ray Carroll, said that theft-for-scrap rackets and dismantling of older vehicles for parts were emerging as a replacement for ‘traditional’ whole vehicle re-birthing activities.

“Our data on the age and value profiles of missing passenger and light commercial vehicles provide key insights into the likely end use, and with almost 7 in 10 ‘missing’ vehicles valued at less than $10,000 it can be assumed that they are most likely stripped for parts or scrap metal for the domestic and increasingly export markets,” Mr Carroll said.

“This campaign – and the dedicated dial-in day in particular – is designed to reduce the opportunity for criminal networks to sell stolen parts into legitimate trades and related supply chains, and information will assist to develop a clearer intelligence picture of the extent to which exports and backyard activities contribute to stolen not recovered rates,” he said.

National data compiled by the NMVTRC shows that the total number of incidents believed to be profit-motivated thefts increased by 4% in 2014 to a total of 10,960. Of these, 1,111 were less than five years old.

A further 2,348 (21%) were between five and 10 years old, while the remaining 7,501 (68%) were more than 10 years old. Vehicles within the 10 to 14 year age group represented the single highest proportion (25%) of stolen not recovered PLC vehicles.

Large passenger vehicles remained the most popular target of profit-motivated theft in 2014 – representing just under a quarter of vehicles stolen and not recovered, compared to small passenger vehicles that represented one in five thefts.

The Toyota Hilux (manufactured between 2005 and 2011) was the most stolen car with 318 thefts, followed by the Holden Commodore VT with 237 thefts, and then the Toyota Hilux (manufactured between 1998 and 2004) with 185 stolen.

Crime Stoppers SA chair, Ms Sharon Hanlon, said just 45 per cent of all motorcycles stolen last year were eventually recovered.

“Profit-motivated motorcycle theft decreased nationally by 1% over the previous 12 months, with late model bikes (manufactured from 2000 onwards) remaining the top theft targets for profit (65%), while mid-range capacity bikes between 200cc and 500cc were more commonly targeted and represented two in five thefts,” Ms Hanlon said.

“It doesn’t matter if it is someone who has specific knowledge about organised vehicle theft activity, or just someone who has someone in the street that is always selling car parts or mag wheels, every piece of information is important,” she said.

“Callers can remain anonymous and rewards are available, so anyone with information about a crime or criminal activities can contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or visit


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