More than 20 car dealership owners who have “had a gutful” with a “car theft epidemic” will gather for a crisis meeting to determine how they can work together to stamp out car theft.
Kings Cars owner Peter King has never experienced anything like the current “car theft epidemic” during his extensive time in the car industry.
“We are experiencing a lot of theft … we want to look at the practical ways we can put (ideas) in place to reduce thefts of number plates and car thefts. We are looking at what we can do as a group.”
Mr King said brazen offenders had attacked employees in broad daylight to snatch keys and take-off with cars. The way offenders steal cars varies, he said. Some use false identification and never return test cars, some break into “drop-off boxes” at rental stores and steal keys, other simply smash through the gates.
“We had the gates broken … they (the offenders) turned up with an electric drill to try and take the screws out and had an angle grinder,” Mr King said.
The masked men then danced in front of the CCTV cameras before taking off.
Mr King said dealership owners would discuss ways they could help each other and customers. Some ideas include fitting all cars with anti-theft number plates and providing installation of GPS trackers.
“One place has had over 20 cars stolen, we’ve had a car that was dropped off for a service stolen. That car was used in a burglary in Bendigo and found burnt out in Creswick,” Mr King said.
“Every (dealership) has had cars stolen. If it was one a year it would be news … this is an epidemic.”
If it was one a year it would be news … this is an epidemic- Peter King
Mr King said theft was costing car dealerships, and the average person, a fortune and expected to see a huge increase in insurance premiums this year.
“It won’t be long before all car dealership have fences up – it’s getting to that stage,” Mr King said.
Superintendent Andrew Allen said theft from businesses was an issue that was continuing to be investigated by police.
“The advice given to businesses was to change their key drop arrangement due to a lack of security on a number of these thefts,” Superintendent Allen said.
“We have charged a number of offenders for theft of vehicle. Our message is prevention of opportunity for such thefts.”
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