Conmen target car deliveries

THIEVES have stolen cars worth R12million from a new vehicle delivery company in Gauteng over the past two years.

Since January the company has lost four luxury vehicles - worth over R1million - to thieves who posed as employees of dealerships before driving off in the cars.

On Monday a neatly dressed man waited outside a BMW dealership in Randburg and then convinced the driver of a delivery truck that he was an employee of the dealership.

He took the registration papers of the cars on the delivery truck from the driver and went into the showroom, where he passed himself off as the delivery driver.

When all the paperwork was done he drove off in a blue BMW125.

The same modus operandi was used on Tuesday when an Audi A6 was driven off from a dealership in Fourways.

Inspector Balan Muthan of the Douglasdale police said they had dealt with similar cases recently.

"The thieves have changed their methods of operation," Muthan said.

"In the past they'd hijack a delivery truck full of new vehicles. Now they are becoming more brazen.

"We suspect that some of the perpetrators work for dealerships or delivery companies because in most cases they have full information of how deliveries are taking place and where.

"We encountered cases like this in Fourways last year."

Henry Beukes of Motorvia, the company that has experienced thefts totalling R12million over the past two years, detailed the suspects' methods after viewing a security camera inside the dealership - where one of the thefts took place.

"As our driver stops at the dealership he is confronted by a male coming out of the dealership who collects the paperwork from the driver.

"The thief goes back into the dealership telling them he works for Motorvia and has a delivery.

"The conman goes out again, putting our driver under the impression that he (the con artist) is working for the dealership and, on the other hand, putting the dealership under the impression that he works for Motorvia.

"The driver then offloads the new vehicle and the conman pretends to drive it into the dealership - but drives away instead."

Beukes said the same person had committed the last four crimes because his delivery drivers had identified him in a number of photos.

Johan Duvenhage of VDS suffered the same fate recently.

"This time around there were no guns," Duvenhage said. "The guy came into the dealership and got away with the car."

Motorvia risk manager Ismail Ayslies told Sowetan they were so desperate to halt the thefts that "we wrote to Commissioner (Bheki) Cele to have the three cases brought together to resolve it quicker.

"We have opened cases everywhere but it doesn't help us."

Ayslies said two of the stolen vehicles had been spotted in Lesotho and Zimbabwe.

The company has promised a R30000 reward for information that leads to a successful prosecution of the perpetrators.