KUALA LUMPUR: Two minutes is all it takes for this gang to break a lock, hot-wire and ride off with a motorcycle.
The reason for their speed and expertise: two of the members were skilled mechanics with over 10 years of experience in the field.
However, they were too good at it.
City police chief Comm Datuk Seri Mazlan Lazim said following a string of motorcycle thefts here, a team from Sentul CID launched a series of raids between Sept 17 and Sept 24.
"We arrested 11 suspects aged between 24 and 34, two of whom were owners of a motorcycle repair shop.
"Our investigations revealed they have been active in the Klang Valley and Negri Sembilan," he told reporters at Sentul police headquarters on Thursday (Oct 3).
He said the group would target a motorcycle and it would take them less than two minutes to steal it.
"They would then change the engine cover and tamper with the chassis and engine numbers.
"They had the expertise to make these changes and used details of motorcycles that were involved in accidents and were beyond repair in the chassis and engine number tamperings.
"Once they had completed their work, they would send the machines to Kelantan, where another member of the syndicate would find buyers across the border," he said, adding that they would sell the motorcycles for between RM2,000 to RM4,000, depending on the condition.
Comm Mazlan said they seized a total of 24 motorcycles, four engines, a chassis, and various tools used in chassis and engine number tampering and to steal motorcycles.
"We estimate the seizures to be worth at least RM112,000.
"Nine of the suspects have been remanded to help with investigations, while two others have been released on police bail," he said.
Comm Mazlan said between January and September this year, city police have arrested 80 suspects in connection with motorcycle theft cases.
"During this period, we also seized 40 motorcycles.
"We managed to bring down motorcycle thefts to 2,084 cases this year compared to 2,342 cases in 2018," he said.
Meanwhile, Comm Mazlan said in a bid to tackle wayside robbery and snatch theft cases, City CID had set up a special operation dubbed Ops Rentap Khas.
"We divided the operation into Phase One (Feb 1 - March 31) and Phase Two(Aug 17 - Sept 16) and focus our efforts on four hotspots in Dang Wangi and Brickfields.
"During Phase One, we managed to arrest 110 wanted suspects, 42 drug suspects, 31 snatch theft suspects, 26 motorcycle theft suspects and 26 for other crimes," he said.
He added that in Phase Two, they managed to arrest two wanted suspects, one drug suspect, 12 snatch theft suspects, three motorcycle theft suspects and seven for other crimes.
He said following the operations, snatch theft cases in Dang Wangi decreased by 16.7% from 756 cases last year to 630 cases.
"In Brickfields, snatch theft cases went down by 43% from 139 cases last year to 79 cases this year.
"We managed to charge 68 people for snatch theft and wayside robbery cases this year," he said adding that they were planning to launch Phase Three of the operations at the end of the year.