KOTA KINABALU: A gang of tech savvy car thieves have been busted following a series of thefts amounting to about RM1mil around the city over the past few weeks.
Sabah police chief Datuk Omar Mammah said four out of the five gang members aged between 32 and 40 were arrested between May 19 and 24.
“These suspects use a computerised system to hack into a vehicle's lock system to disable its lock and alarm to steal a car,” he said at a press conference here Monday (May 27).
He said this is Sabah’s first arrest that involved computerised hacking systems to get into vehicles.
Omar said one of the four arrested people is from Sabah while the other three are from
Johor and Selangor. He added that they had stolen at least 11 four-wheel-drive vehicles since early May.
He said their arrest came following a report on May 16 where a woman reported that her car was missing from the Likas Women and Children’s Hospital parking lot.
“The victim posted a picture of her missing car on social media while we tracked down the suspect,” he said.
Omar said the first suspect was nabbed in the city on May 19 as he was getting into a vehicle that looked a lot like the woman’s missing car, except it had another licence plate with a number that turned out to be fake.
“Our interrogation led to the arrest of three other suspects, while five of the stolen vehicles were recovered from Sarawak,” he said.
He said a fifth suspect known as Tommy, a 43-year-old Sarawakian, remains at large.
“We might be able to recover the remaining six vehicles if the suspect is nabbed,” Omar said in urging the public to provide information on Tommy if they had any.
He said a further probe found that the first arrested suspect had no previous convictions while the second, third and fourth suspects have 17, six and two previous convictions.
“Two of the four suspects also tested positive for drugs,” he said.
Also seized were the car lock and alarm hacking machine, smart keys, and other tools used to break into cars.
Meanwhile on the missing Grab driver Mohd Hanafiee Jaffar, Omar said they have yet to get more information on the incident.
“We have opened up a missing person's report so far,” he said.
According to the police report lodged by Hanafiee's girlfriend, his car was found parked near the Ramadan Bazaar in Indah Permai at about 12.30am Sunday (May 26).
She said the vehicle was locked and empty, with blood stains on the steering wheel, handbrake, front door and mirror.