Last update: 10-Dec-2013 1:42 am
Tuesday, December 10, 2013
Trinidad & Tobago Guardian Online
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Cops accused of helping dealers
Three car dealers from central Trinidad were interrogated by detectives of the Stolen Vehicle Squad during a two-year investigation into the theft of luxury vehicles from the United Kingdom. Detectives said yesterday that even though six vehicles had been impounded by the State in 2011 as a result, no one has been charged to date because of insufficient evidence. Three of the seized vehicles remain impounded.
The vehicles, which included BMWs and Range Rovers, were impounded during the state of emergency in November 2011. Among those seized was a Range Rover, licensed PCM 1100, purchased by interim deputy leader of the Independent Liberal Party (ILP) Anna Deonarine. The vehicle was reported stolen from Birmingham in the UK between May and December 2008. It was owned by Lombard Vehicle Management and is currently at the Mangra Trace police compound in Aranjuez, San Juan.
A police source, who requested anonymity, said in 2011 they received a tip-off about the international car racket. “It was alleged that these dealers were selling stolen cars from the UK,” the officer said. “Checks were made and some of the documentation was deemed suspicious. In some cases the chassis numbers were tampered with. In some cases the owners had legitimate documents under legitimate circumstances and we had to start tracing the vehicles backwards. There was not enough evidence to charge anyone.”
After police checked documents from the Customs and Excise department, all car dealers who were bringing in luxury vehicles came under the police radar, the officer said.
Probe at stalemate
Vehicles brought in by three dealers were impounded. However, the source claimed the investigation reached a stalemate and since then no charges or arrests have been made. Lombard, which hired specialist investigator Barry Hancock to probe the case, has been liaising with Attorney General Anand Ramlogan and the Central Authority in an attempt to retrieve its Range Rover. Ramlogan said last week that he was awaiting a statement from Deonarine, after which the car would be shipped back to the UK.
Meanwhile, Birmingham Central police are continuing their crackdown on vehicle theft in the UK. Hancock could not be reached for comment yesterday, as calls to his office went unanswered and he did not respond to e-mails. Ramlogan said yesterday that Hancock had given the T&T authorities a file containing details of the transaction. Hancock came to Trinidad two months ago to try to retrieve the vehicle.
“We have the relevant information. Hancock has provided a detailed statement and we have the relevant information from the side of the UK owners,” Ramlogan said.
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