A number of stolen spare parts of luxury cars confiscated by HCMC police. Photo: VnExpress
Ho Chi Minh City police arrested 18 people on Wednesday, alleging that they belonged to a gang that routinely stole and resold parts stripped from parked luxury cars, news website VnExpress reported.
Police identified Tran Minh Thao, 35, and Phan Thi Kim Ha, 31, a couple who served as the alleged ringleaders, as among the arrested.
They launched their investigation around a year ago after receiving reports from people who claimed their luxury cars had been stripped while parked on the sidewalk or in parking lots.
Some claimed they had to pay tens of thousands of dollars to replace the stolen parts--which were snatched from BMWs, Audis and Bentleys.
Police determined that Thao and Ha, who lived in a rented apartment in District 7, followed luxury cars and alerted the thieves of their locations.
According to police, the thieves removed the spare parts very quickly, sometimes in less than a minute.
Tran Duy Bach, 31, and Nguyen Van Oi, 45, were arrested while Oi was stripping parts from a Mercedes Sprinter parked on Lac Long Quan Street in District 11;
Police say Bach functioned as a look-out.
Based on evidence provided by the two men, police arrested Thao and Ha.
The couple told police they had committed more than 30 such robberies in HCMC as well as towns in the Mekong Delta.
The gang members usually dressed in fancy clothes and drove expensive motorbikes to avoid suspicion when they approached luxury cars, according to police
Seven people, including the owners of three automotive parts shops in District 5 that traded in the gang's stolen parts were also arrested.
The shop owners told police they bought the items from the gang for around 20 percent less than market price.
Police also seized a number of stolen spare parts from the shops.
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