Saturday, 1 October 2011

Car thefts in Mill Hill - Is it an epidemic

On Thursday evening I had my usual couple of pints of shandy after our five a side kickabout at the Three Hammers pub. As ever there was a hot topic of conversation. To my surprise, it wasn't the behaviour of Carlos Tevez in Munich on Tuesday. It seems that two members of our squad had their cars damaged by thiefs, seemingly working to order. One of my friends had the four wheels stolen from his BMW, in the drive of his house in Mill Hill. The house is on a reasonably busy road, which is a bus route. The insurance company sent a lorry to take the car away. Cost of new wheels £4,000. The team who retrieved his car  said that there are gangs doing this all the time. They know exactly what they want. They will check the location several times before striking. It seems they can remove the wheel at Ferrari F1 speed. Apparently they ship them out to the far east in containers to sell. The £4,000 set of wheels will earn them £500 max.

Several hints from the man who rescued the car, to bear in mind.

1) They only take full sets of wheels. The safest way to park is with one side of the car tight up against a wall, so they can't get in to steal them. He said that if the gang is disturbed they will simply run away as they are only interested in earning quick cash.

2) Use Halfords lock nuts rather than BMW ones. There are only a few types of BMW lock nuts, with Halfords there are 50 or 60, so there is less chance that they'll have the tools. They generally check this before they come to steal the wheels.

3) Often the gangs will knobble security lighting prior to the visit. If you notice that your security lighting has been interfered with in any way, this could indicate that you are being cased for a visit. A typical symptom is when an inaccessable security light gets broken or turned away from the area where the car is.

The other theft was even stranger. Another friend had all of the seats stolen out of their Ford galaxy. It was suggested that these were probably stolen to order, although how someone would lose the first set seems rather odd.

In both cases, it isn't the financial aspect which the victims found to be bad. It was the hassle. Days missed off work, children not taken to school, endless phone calls. In short a complete pain in the backside. If you see anyone behaving strangely, looking closely at your car or its wheels (or your neighbours) let the police know. If you happen to see any vans with people in at odd hours of the night checking out you or your neighbours property, let the police know. If you can get a make of vehicle and registration number, even better. I doubt we'll ever see this type of annoying petty crime ever go away, but the more difficult we make it for the perpetrators the less of it we'll see in our neighbourhoods.

1 comment:

ainelivia said...

18 months ago my neighbour's merc, his present to himself after 35 years of hard work, was stolen on a Saturday morning at 11 am. the thieves broke his kitchen door and gained entry and found the keys in a kitchen drawer. he had gone out that morning to help his son and noone was at home. we were at home and heard nothing.