As the country rails under a spate of motor vehicle theft, the Botswana Police Serious Crimes Squad is on a manhunt for a suspect alleged to have stolen over 30 vehicles.
Information passed to The Telegraph suggests that detectives have been spread throughout the country to track down one of the most wanted car theft suspects whose identity is still withheld pending investigations.
It is reported that the suspect is strongly believed to have stolen more than thirty motor vehicles in various places across the country.
It is also reported that the suspect apparently uses one of the border gates to smuggle vehicles into South Africa.
The border gate in use is rarely busy and security, immigration and customs officers are said to be lax.
Assistant superintendent, Joshua Ntau of Motor Vehicle theft unit, Serious Crimes Squad confirmed that the country has been hit by motor vehicle theft.
He said the number of cars recently stolen has now become a serious concern. He explained that since the beginning of this year about 206 cars have been stolen.
However, 121 of them have already been recovered and found in various places; some abandoned in the country, some in neighbouring countries especially South Africa.
He said 85 cars have not yet been recovered and are suspected to have been smuggled into neighbouring countries.
He said the model of the car targeted by criminals is Toyata Corolla, especially the imported type.
Ntau stated that police have identified three areas targeted by robbers and these include Mogoditshane followed by Mmopane and Gabane village.
“Most of these cars are stolen at night,” he said.
He said one thing that exacerbates car theft in Botswana, especially the said make is that South Africa does not allow imported second vehicles and the Corolla happens to be the easiest to modify to an extent that it looks like the local one before it’s sold to South Africa where the market is said to be lucrative.
Ntau said his team has identified some criminal syndicates that are linked to car theft in the country.
“The syndicates are made up of different nationalities that include locals, South Africans as well as Zimbabweans,” he said.
He indicated that already they have arrested about four suspects. Two are detained in Mafikeng while the other two are in Zeerust.
Ntau indicated that though they have identified the syndicates whom they are busy profiling together with their friends as well as girlfriends.
“Sometime between 2004 and 2006 we experienced a similar problem where cars were stolen in large numbers.
“We applied a similar technique and it worked so well”.
Meanwhile, Sesame Boemo of Phase 2 in Gaborone West told The Telegraph that her car was stolen early last month and the police have not yet been able to trace it.
“I left home to work in the morning and realised that I had forgotten my wallet and came back, leaving the car still running as I ran into the house,” she recalled.
She said she took a few minutes inside the house while looking for her wallet and when came out of the house the car was nowhere to be found.
Responding to questions regarding the thief suspected of stealing over 30
cars, Ntau declined to comment as he felt it was too early to discuss anything relating to the matter.
He appealed to the members of the public to ensure that they lock their gates at night as well as installing security gadgets that well make it difficult for the car to be moved out of the yard.