KOTA KINABALU: A gang of tech-savvy car thieves has been busted following a series of thefts that resulted in nearly RM1mil in losses.
Sabah police chief Datuk Omar Mammah said four of the five gang members aged between 32 and 40 were arrested between May 19 and 24.
“The suspects used a computerised system to hack into the vehicle’s locking system to disable the alarm,” he told reporters here.
He said this was Sabah’s first arrest that involved computerised hacking to get into vehicles.
Omar said the four arrested comprised a Sabahan and three from Johor and Selangor.
A fifth suspect known as Tommy, a 43-year-old Sarawakian, remains at large. They had stolen at least 11 4WD vehicles around the city since early May.
Omar said the arrests came following the latest incident on May 16 involving a woman whose car went missing from the Likas Women and Children’s Hospital parking lot.
“The victim also posted a picture of her missing car and related her plight on social media,’’ he said.
Omar said the first suspect was arrested in the city on May 19, as he was getting into a vehicle which resembled the woman’s car, except that it had another plate number which turned out to be fake.
“Our interrogation led to the arrest of three more suspects. Five of the stolen vehicles were recovered in Sarawak.
“We might be able to recover the remaining six vehicles if we manage to get him,” Omar said, appealing for public cooperation to trace Tommy the Sarawakian.
He said the first suspect had no previous convictions while the second, third and fourth suspects had 17, six and two previous convictions respectively.
“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 a report involving missing Grab driver Mohd Hanafiee Jaffar, Omar said police had yet to get more information on the incident.
“We have opened up a missing persons 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 12.30am on Sunday.
The vehicle was locked and empty, but there were bloodstains on the steering wheel, handbrake, front door and mirror.