Vehicle Crime

Types of Vehicle Crime:

Temporary user.

Pleasure/ joy rider/ image seeker to impress friends and family.  To perform other type of crime with untraceable vehicles (e.g.: Burglary and Hi Jacking), by Juveniles frequently.


Theft for profit, professional vehicle theft.

Stripping vehicles for spares and panel beating work, or whole vehicles as is. Committed mainly by juveniles, adults and organised syndicates.

Main reasons for Theft and Hijacking

  • Orders for specific part/s or the whole vehicle itself.
  • Professional strippers left with a shell that is destroyed.
  • Parts sold at bargain prices to law-abiding citizens.
  • Crime syndicates looking for getaway vehicles.
  • Joyriders and fun-seekers who often abandon the vehicle after use.

Vehicle Theft

Temporary useTheft for Profit
For Pleasure (Joyriding/ Airbaging)
Or as a Status symbol
To strip for parts (+/- 50% of all thefts) (CHOP SHOPS)
Used in other CrimesRe-registration (Sold locally)
Cross Border (Sold outside S.A)
OTHER: FRAUD Etc “Hoola-Hoop”

Methods of Operation:

  • Salvage Switch
  • Use of Fraudulent Documents
  • Altered VIN details
  • Theft of Rental Vehicles
  • Insurance/ Bank fraud
  • Armed Robbery

The “SALVAGE SWITCH” method:

This involves the purchasing of a wrecked or inoperable vehicle, referred to as ‘salvage’ . The wreck is then dismantled and the VIN plate retained for use on another vehicle. The thief then steals the same make and model vehicle and transfers the identities from the wrecked vehicle to the stolen one. The wreck is then discarded.

Altered VIN detail:

VIN plates are removed from parked or unattended vehicles or the VIN plates are acquired/ stolen from the factory. The thief then steals a similar make and model vehicle and then affixes the stolen VIN plate to the stolen vehicle.
The vehicle is then subsequently registered by means of counterfeit documents.
In cases where new vehicles are stolen, counterfeit certificates of origin are obtained and used as a basis for registration.

Fraudulent titles:

Almost always used by professional thieves across the borders.
It involves the selling of stolen vehicles using fraudulent bills of entry and counterfeit registration documents.
The thief will alter OR forge documents to fit a particular make and model vehicle that has recently been stolen. The vehicle is then taken for clearance and registration, where after registration and license plates are obtained.
The vehicle is then taken to another registration authority to repeat the exercise to hide the vehicle. This can happen as many as 5 times before the vehicle is sold.

Insurance/ Bank Fraud: “Hoola Hoop”:

A vehicle is taken across the border and sold using fraudulent papers and registered in another country. Upon Interpol check it will not be reported stolen and cleared for registration in the new country. After registration the vehicle is then reported stolen in the first country and insurance – finance claims result for the vehicle. This is called the HOOLA HOOP. Double money is claimed.
The owners of such vehicles are often involved here.

Armed Robbery:

Violence is used. The motive is to get a vehicle with keys, as thieves know that to get new keys involves taking the vehicle to a dealer again checking and verification. This allows the vehicle to be used in other related crimes.
At a resent International motor show of 11 vehicles reported stolen, 9 were of the same make and model. The vehicles were sought for engine management systems and the perpetrators were prepared to damage the vehicles by driving through fences and barriers to get the useful parts needed.
Any amount of force is used to get what they want, often by order from syndicates.

Thanks to
our partners