New searches in car theft gang investigation

Around 20 premises have been searched in the last few days as part of the ongoing investigation into the activities of a gang that used confidence tricks to steal cars from people selling their vehicles online. Two weeks ago the members of the gang involved in the swindle were arrested in the largest police operation to have been mounted in two decades.  

Now the Federal Judicial Authorities report that a number of new searches have been carried over the past few days. One of the premises searched was the Federal Transport Department’s Vehicle Registration Service (DIV).

A Judicial Authorities Spokesperson told VRT News that “It’s not the DIV that is being targeted, but rather one person that works there and possible aided and abetted the laundering of stolen vehicles.  The gang responded to online advertisement placed by people selling cars.

They pretended to be interested in buying the car and said they had payed via a bank app. One of the gang members sent a “proof of payment” to the vendor. However this later was found to be false. A total of 620 victims fell foul of the gang’s confidence trick.

Vehicles worth a total of 6.5 million euro were stolen in this way.  Almost 30 people have been detained in the case or in cases related to it. Among them are a notary, an officer of the Federal Police Service and two officers with the Charleroi Local Police Service. In the last few days 20 premises have been searched and a number of people detain. 4 of these have been accused of involvement in the gang’s activities.  

On Wednesday the police searched an office of the Vehicle Registration Service and a residential address near to Mons (Hainaut).